The Baltic Blue Bioeconomy and COVID-19

Throughout the world, Blue Bioeconomy sectors are being severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and many actors are finding inspiring ways to deal with the consequences it poses, both now and in the future.
The economic crisis catapulted by COVID-19 has serious effects on the Blue Bioeconomy and the Baltic is no exception, with challenges faced on ships, farms, laboratories, markets, factories, offices and so on. Although it may be argued that the marine environment has perhaps been given some room to breathe with reduced fishing and marine transport activities and wild marine populations may reap temporary benefits from this, the disrupting impacts of COVID-19 on the Baltic Blue Bioeconomy supply chains are serious.

Impacts of measures
In the Baltic, small businesses and local producers are suffering from the effects of restaurant and market closures as well as restricted export markets, as travel restrictions, social distancing and quarantine measures are keeping workers and consumers at home and are forcing producers to find alternative markets. Farmers are struggling with sales and distribution barriers; lockdowns and social distancing measures are making it difficult for consumers to make their way to (super)markets; and generally production is slowing down. Aquaculture, mussel and seaweed farmers are facing losses in sales and are having to consider shutdowns in production, entailing risks to the viability of their businesses. Although the European Food and Safety Authority has made it abundantly clear that the virus is not transmittable through food or food packaging; fresh food sales, including seafood, have been decreasing across Europe. Even where the transport of products is possible, the quality may suffer, due to travel and trade restrictions.


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Further reading:

  • Carpenter, G. for the New Economics Foundation (May 2020). Setting the Right Safety Net: A Framework for Fisheries Support Policies in Response to COVID-19 (pdf). Available at
  • Council of the EU (April 2020). COVID-19: Council adopts rules to help EU fishermen. Available at
  • Food and Agriculture Organisation (10 April 2020) ‘How is COVID-19 affecting the fisheries and aquaculture food systems’. Available at