Coronavirus (COVID-19): marine sectors - business survey

Survey developed and carried out in order to understand the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on Scottish aquaculture businesses, sea fisheries businesses and recreational fishing businesses.

6. Key Messages - Aquaculture Businesses

For context, 82% of aquaculture respondents were finfish producers and 18% were shellfish growers, 42% of the respondents owned large businesses, and 74% represented small and medium businesses.

The large majority (75%) of the aquaculture businesses we still trading between March and June 2020. 17% had temporarily closed or paused trading during the period.

All the businesses incurred a decrease in turnover, the vast majority experienced a decrease up to 50%, whilst 17% faced a decrease in turnover of more than this. Some businesses (17%) reported a decrease within the normal range between March and June 2020 when compared to the same time last year. A reduction in demand in rest of the world due to the pandemic was cited by 37% of businesses as the main reason for the decrease in turnover, followed by reduced demand in EU (18%) and UK (18%).

Businesses reported that exports were more significantly affected than imports. Of those businesses which engage in export activity, around half of them experienced a decrease in exports. Of the 25% of respondents who did not export half of them still reported a decrease in activity. On a more positive note some businesses reported finding new foreign and domestic markets for their products.

Businesses in the aquaculture sector experienced a relatively smaller impact on prices compared to other sectors with 42% reporting no change during the period. However, 25% of business did report a decrease in prices.

Accessing supplies was an issue. Most of the businesses who depended on the UK for the supply of materials, goods or services reported to either have been unsuccessful in obtaining the supplies or had to change the supplier or find alternative solutions.

The financial outlook reported by respondents was relatively positive compared to other sectors. The majority (75%) of the respondents reported that their businesses were financially viable without government support, with 83% reported to being able to cover both fixed and variable costs during the Covid19 period. A majority of the respondents were fairly confident about the financial resources they had to continue to operate until at least next 12 months.

On workforce, 17% reported that they were neither able to meet the business demands nor able to employ additional staff during the outbreak. 55% businesses furloughed staff and 18% decreased working hours whilst 27% increased working hours and 18% recruited staff for short-term.

Business adaptability and readiness was high with 75% of the businesses having made changes to adapt to the situation and 66% having made preparatory plans in case there was a second wave of Covid19.

Full results for aquaculture respondents is available at Annex 2.



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