Fish prices in China are skyrocketing, pushed up by factors including vagaries in the pork market and stricter environmental regulation.
Reuters reports that fish, previously one of the least expensive protein sources in China, are up almost 50% from a year ago. It’s now more expensive than chicken or pork.
Fish had been surging in popularity since China started having problems with African swine fever, a disease that wiped out nearly half of the nation’s hog herd starting in 2018. Pork prices are now down, at least temporarily, as a new outbreak of the disease led farmers to have their hogs preemptively slaughtered.
Chinese fish farms have had problems that include rising feed costs and a crackdown on environmental standards that forced some farms to close.
In addition, the pandemic has affect the fish supply. China restricted imports of frozen fish on the grounds that it was a medium for transmission of the coronavirus – a claim that most authorities outside China dismiss as bogus. Some Chinese consumers also worry about eating meat because the coronavirus was zoonotic, transferring from animals to humans; this fear has increased the demand for seafood.