From the Editor: Living in a post-COVID world
By Mari-Len De Guzman
The vaccination roll-outs happening at different stages across the globe and a looming return-to-normal scenario have got me thinking about what the aquaculture industry might look like post-pandemic.
This industry will, no doubt, look a lot different than it did pre-COVID-19. For starters, the closure of some international and domestic markets have forced a kind of supply chain restrategizing that saw many companies venture into new territory. This pandemic era has become a testing ground for agility and creativity – and those that passed the test are well-positioned to take their organization to the next level.
The entire value chain certainly looks different. Vertical integration has become a strategic business play, for instance, where producers have added ‘processors’ and ‘marketers’ to their list of capabilities, among other things.
Despite COVID-19’s social, economic and psychological toll, the post-COVID era will give rise to new, pandemic-proof business strategies that are not just designed for resiliency but also for long-term sustainability.
One important aspect of the back-to-normal, business-as-usual operations are the people. Businesses are re-opening workplaces where most of the staff members have been working remotely and have not seen the inside of their office for the last year-and-a-half. Those who have been working onsite for the last year have faced reduced co-worker interaction usually done from a safe distance.
For aquaculture operators, there may not be any changes to the way the fish are reared, but procedures and protocols might be getting some facelift – if not a complete overhaul – to ensure that workplace health and safety are part of the business strategy.
Planning for the eventuality of your organization re-opening at pre-COVID levels and capacity is a welcome development after a long stretch of business uncertainties. It is likely that your organization will never be the same as it was at the beginning of 2020.
Author Deepak Chopra once said, “All great changes are preceded by chaos.” I hope we will soon be able to put this global health crisis behind us. And I certainly hope that this industry has become much better for it. It needs to be, because if all projections are to be believed, this aquaculture community will play a huge role in not just addressing our global food supply challenges, but more importantly in helping build a more sustainable and ocean-friendly seafood industry.
Speaking of change, this would be my last issue of Hatchery International as I move on to a new role. Being editor of Hatchery International and RAStech magazine has been an absolute pleasure. This role has given me the honour of engaging with some of the best and most passionate minds in this community.
Although my new role will be taking me outside the realms of aquaculture, I will be following the development of this industry as I believe that the best is yet to come.