COVID-19 & What does it mean for the fishing industry?
Let's face the reality here. This disease is serious, and it is going to utterly impact the health of the fishing industries economy. To give you a brief synopsis, which the media and government has debatably done a decent job at. This respiratory disease commonly known as Coronavirus or COVID-19 is a new strain of the large family of Coronavirus's that generally affect animals. What makes this disease so unique is the fact that it has apparently jumped species to humans. There seems to be so many unknowns and the transmission between continents has been extremely fast, making it a pandemic.
What we do know is that this disease appears to have originated from a food market in Wuhan China. It is believed that Bats could potentially be the culprit of the disease. This is the point at which the Coronavirus jumped species. From here the disease rapidly spread through China and ultimately jumped continent after continent with no prejudice for who it affected. As the disease spread the media caused panic here in the USA, and ultimately wall street was affected by the COVID-19 in a way no one could have anticipated. We have been riding a rollercoaster ride of massive downs and small ups. With a combination of state closures and mandatory business closures we are seeing a significant impact on the economy.
With all this we're sure to see it affect the fishing industry as generally we are heavily subsidized by disposable income. Many of the big-game fishermen are small business owners from restaurants to construction. Many of these industries will be heavily impacted financially by this pandemic. Fishermen, by nature are some of the most patriotic and humble, and often put others before themselves. Many of these business owners will do all they can to keep their employees and their families supported through the hard times. Even when it means the expense of their own livelihood. Many will look at what they need to expel in order to keep their families and employees supported through this hard time.
With that said the first things that tend to go in these times are the disposable income hobbies. The fishing industry is in for a rough ride in the coming months. All we can do is weather the storm and support one another. Offering help to those in need and in some cases, we will see some of these businesses go into hibernation like many did during the 2008 financial crisis. We need to get creative and possibly design products for different sectors. Reach out to our clients and see what we can do for them to help them through these times.
Several years back we forecasted that the big-game tackle business could be adversely affected by economic hardships and we needed to shelter ourselves from these events. In 2017-2018 we made significant investments and released Lobo Performance Gear an apparel line that catered to the outdoor market. First it was performance fishing t-shirts and that quickly evolved into a fishing, surf, travel inspired brand. Ultimately, we quickly learned that Lobo Performance Gear was limiting itself and we were forced to rebrand in 2018 as LPG Apparel Co.
Now as we look into 2020 and this pandemic, we see the urgency to yet again evolve. Several weeks back it was as though someone flicked a switch on our business. Almost instantaneously we gradually lost sales and seen the economic pressures from this disease. It wasn't only affecting the health of people, but it was taking a mental toll on the whole population. Creating a widespread panic, a panic that affected the economy. We're going to have a long road to recovery, but we're Americans and we serve the greatest and most patriotic industry out there.
By: Jeffrey C. Lobo
Optician B.S. NCLE ABO