Shrimps up close

Shrimp Fishery in Sweden Hit Hard During Covid-19


The more Covid-19 cases in Sweden, the cheaper the shrimp became at the Gothenburg Fish Auction. During the pandemic, shrimp fishers lost almost SEK 400 000 per boat, according to a study at the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg.

Krister Mars
Krister Mars wrote his master's thesis with Davide Dutto. "It seems that the government support to the fishing industry was well motivated", Krister says.

When the Covid-19 pandemic broke out in March 2020, many industries were hit hard. The government intervened early to aid service sectors like hotels and restaurants. Swedish fishers also demanded and received compensation for reduced income. 
Former master's students Krister Mars and Davide Dutto at the Department of Economics wanted to dive into the fishing industry, and in their master's thesis they chose to study how the pandemic affected the economy of shrimp
fishers, especially the sale of the larger boiled shrimp.

In Sweden, we did not have restrictions in the same way as other countries, but we wanted to see if the almost daily reporting of Covid-19 cases in the media affected consumption, says Krister Mars. 

Krister Mars and Davide Dutto were assisted by their supervisor Håkan Eggert, Associate Professor of Economics and an expert on Swedish commercial fishing for more than 20 years.

Large boiled shrimp are caught by around 50 boats here on the west coast and consumed in Sweden. This means that the price of shrimps is determined by how much is landed and sold at the Gothenburg Fish Auction, and to some extent in Smögen, every day, says Håkan Eggert.

Fishers lost an average of SEK 400,000 per boat

By comparing auction prices and reported mortality, the study showed that the more Covid-19 cases reported in the media, the cheaper the shrimp became. On average, the price of boiled shrimps decreased by about 9 percent. Between March 2020 and the end of 2021, Swedish shrimp fishers lost an average of SEK 400,000 per boat or almost SEK 21.5 million in total. 

Shrimp fishers hit the hardest during the pandemic. There are of course uncertainties in our study, but it seems that the government support to the fishing industry was well motivated, says Krister Mars. 
The master's thesis was refined together with the supervisor and the study has now been published in Marine Policy, a broad academic journal for both natural and social scientists. 
- It's great that our study got published and I am proud of the work we have done, says Krister Mars. 

Text: Jessica Oscarsson


Read the study "Assessing the economic effects of the covid-19 pandemic on Swedish shrimp fishers":