Why the Coronavirus is Making Fresh Lobster So Cheap

Once upon a time, the lobster was so common it was considered the “cockroach of the sea,” and it was most commonly fed to prisoners, apprentices, and slaves (via Business Insider). But just as Cinderella went from scullery maid to princess bride, so too did the lobster rise in the seafood rankings to become a delicacy prized all over the world. In 2016 alone, ITE Food & Drink says China imported a total of frozen and fresh lobster products worth more than half a billion dollars. China’s appetite for lobster is so immense, it looks to fishermen across several markets, in the U.S., Canada, and New Zealand in order to satisfy its craving. 

For the last few years, lobsters have been making the journey from sea to table on chartered flights, particularly around the Lunar New Year when demand reaches a seasonal high (via USA Today). The journey isn’t cheap, but they are seen as a necessity so suppliers can meet the appetites of Chinese diners looking to feast on succulent seafood delivered as fresh as possible. The South China Morning Post says that between January to March of 2019, or around the Lunar New Year period, China imported 12,600 tons of lobster while the U.S., which also imports lobster, brought in 87,000 tons. 

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