Ministry announces subsidies to help fishing industry
The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries announced last week it is providing subsidies to corporate retail companies, as well as some smaller stores, to lower seafood prices for consumers as the industry struggles with depressed demand.
The first of those seafood sales by discount mart chains was announced Wednesday.
While some retail companies have reported increased seafood sales in recent months as more families cook their own meals at home, the coronavirus outbreak’s negative impact on the restaurant industry has caused commercial sales of seafood to drop significantly.
The ministry selected Emart and Lotte Mart to receive the first two weeks’ worth of subsidies, with the retail giants subsequently announcing one-week sales of specific types of seafood.
And during the following two weeks, the ministry will shift the subsidies to some discount marts, e-commerce platforms and a handful of “seafood distribution start-ups.”
Emart will offer discounts of up to 43 percent on five types of seafood, including rockfish, sea eels and sea squirts. Sea eels will cost 9,900 won ($8) for three, down 17 percent. Freshwater eels will be sold for 4,980 won per 100 grams (3.5 ounces), down 37 percent. The promotion ends May 13.
Shipments of sea squirts in March increased 9 percent on year to 4,358 tons, but the price plummeted 43 percent to 1,741 won per kilogram, according to data from the ministry.
Lotte Mart’s main seafood sale starts May 14. It plans to offer up to 30 percent off on rockfish and flounder.
But starting today, king crab will be sold at 6,980 won per 100 grams until May 13, down 20 percent compared to the same period last year. The price of snow crab is down about 28 percent to 4,980 won per 100 grams, while sliced raw sea bream will cost 18,800 won for 300 grams. Lotte Shopping, which operates Lotte Mart, said sales of seafood surged in April.
On-year sales of king crabs in April rose 1,024.6 percent, while that of snow crabs increased 70.3 percent.
Sales of sushi and sashimi also rose last month.
“We prepared a promotion for the family month of May, so people could enjoy seafood at home,” Lotte Mart spokesperson Park Jong-ho said, referring to the fact that Children’s Day and Parents’ Day both fall in May.
Moon Seong-hyeok, the Minister of Oceans and Fisheries, plans to attend an event on May 7 at the Seongsu-dong branch in eastern Seoul to promote sales of seafood.
BY JIN MIN-JI [firstname.lastname@example.org]