COVID-19 is the most devastating plague to ravage humankind this century. Every day, the number of patients infected with the coronavirus is rising globally and taking the highest human toll in the United States. The highly infectious virus was first contracted in November 2019 in Wuhan, the capital city of China’s Hubei province, through horseshoe bat-to-human contact at the Huanan seafood market.
Many of the initial COVID-19 patients were either stall owners, market employees or regular visitors of the market, who rapidly developed a severe respiratory illness. Despite the market being shut down on Jan. 1, 2020, the virus has since rapidly spread airborne during exhalation, talking and coughing via microdroplets small enough to remain aloft in air, spreading to over 200 countries and regions around the world.
Seafood is a major source of nourishment, providing sustenance to billions of people as well as fish and animals worldwide. It is considered to be one of the world’s largest industries, generating a value of about $152 billion in 2017, with more than half of this trade originating in developing regions.
At present, China accounts for nearly 75% of the global seafood and aquaculture market in terms of both volume and value, while the second-largest market share is held by India, followed by Indonesia, Chile, Norway, Japan, South Korea, the U.S. and the United Kingdom.
Seafood industry-related malpractices
At the same time, the seafood industry is plagued by malpractices, including fraud, product mislabeling, tax evasion, price fixing and poor management of fisheries:
Overfishing — in 2018, almost 90% of global wild fish stocks were either exploited or overfished, and this number is estimated to grow.
Bycatches — approximately 60% of the seafood taken from the ocean is discarded, lost or wasted in supply chains.
Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing — representing up to 26 million tons of fish caught, valued from $10 billion to $23 billion...