What Is Causing A Fish Shortage In 2024?

What Is Causing A Fish Shortage In 2024?

Recent years have seen fishermen experiencing difficulty in keeping up with market demand for fish in the United States. 

Whether it’s ocean waters rising making it more difficult for fish populations to survive or pollution killing off fish exacerbating the issue, the fact of the matter remains: increased demand for products in the global market has led to fisheries pushing themselves past healthy delivery amounts and further reducing already low populations. 

This article will discuss why there’s a fish shortage in further detail, the current state of fish farming, what supply chains can do about the shortage, and how they can deal with market and product instability. 

The state of fisheries and fish farming

Every day, fisheries and fish farms are pushed past their limit, resulting in the seafood industry being unable to meet consumer and retail supply and demand. In fact, the reality is that 85% of fisheries are at or beyond their limits. 

Even so, the seafood industry is expanding rapidly across the globe in Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Oceania. This matches the forecast and report of a 14% surge in global demand by 2023. With demand growing, regulators are trying to stop overfishing and curb the consequences of climate change by placing restrictions on the fishing industry.

Governments around the world are choosing to be more selective when giving out fishing licenses to new fisheries and fish farmers in an effort to curb overfishing and further damage to the environment. 

However, while tactical on the surface, such restrictions encourage illegal fish farming in order to continue meeting global demand. Accordingly, 1 in every 5 wild-caught fish (including species such as salmon, tuna, and tilapia) are illegal, unreported, and unregulated. This trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon.

In place of wild-caught fish, a fish farm may exist to extend the harvest season, meet consumer demand, and raise sales while keeping market pricing reasonable. The problem with this approach is that farmers sometimes use unlawful employment practices. Farms also tend to bolster the rate of disease among fish because they swim in close quarters.

The consequences of illegal fishing are substantially and noticeably affecting entire supply chains. When fish are illegally caught by a fisherman, then production and distribution follows suit—or, at the very least, these businesses then act as accomplices in partnership to an illicit operation.

Why is there a fish shortage in 2024?

There are several reasons for the 2024 fish shortage.

Strict regulation on fish farming

One of the primary reasons for the shortage is due to regulations and restrictions on new farming licenses.

Regulatory bodies are making it difficult for new farms and fisheries to get a license, believing that this will protect ocean and sea ecosystems. These regulations were developed at the advice of scientific communities with the hope that populations of fresh water species like salmon will recover.

Climate change

Climate change is another huge driver of declining fish populations. Increases in temperature and acidification have led to losses in habitat. Warming waters all across the globe are disrupting the natural life cycles of all sea life. 


The overfishing problem speaks for itself. In recent years, demand for wild-caught fish has seen twice the available supply. It’s no wonder that fisheries can’t keep up. 

While on one hand, the fishing industry supports the United States economy with a $148 billion output and the creation of 945,500 jobs, consumers are feeling the economic pressure of the shortage as food production costs continuously increase and make seafood products more expensive. 

What supply chain businesses can do to deal with the fish shortage

To deal with the fish shortage, supply chain businesses could start replacing common seafood products like tuna, shrimp, tilapia, lobster, and salmon with alternative seafood options. 

For example, nowadays, tuna is caught in the wild 99% of the time, which can prove to be problematic over time with all the previously mentioned issues. The lack of sustainability in this method is likely to put your business at risk due to external factors out of your control. An alternative substitute is an attractive option for reducing pressure and environmental impact.

There’s a growing market for alternative plant-based seafood products, which currently sell a substantial amount in product in the United States. 

Another option supply chain businesses could soon consider is cultivated products, which harvest fish cells and cultivate them in bioreaders. Cultivated products are not yet approved for the market, but there’s been about a $100 million investment into growing the industry, so it’s something to consider for long-term feasibility.

To ensure plant-based or cultivated products become commonplace, however, manufacturers will have to address consistency issues in the texture, taste, cost, and nutritional issues of lab-grown products. Of course, a lot of trial and error will have to go into testing before it reaches the consumer.

The benefits of plant-based and alternative products will inevitably outweigh the risks though, as they face fewer regulatory measures, promote sustainability, and reduce the supply chain’s carbon dioxide output and carbon footprint. Plus, they can easily be made into further gourmet shelf products and can be offered at competitive prices. These are all benefits that marketing research says promote healthy competition in the market. 

Since plant-based products have fewer regulations, they have a lower market entry barrier, costing only $12 to $20 per pound. Affordability is huge in this regard. For instance, it typically costs $40 to $200 a pound for bluefin tuna, but much less for an alternative product.

Manufacturers also find that seafood is actually more eco-friendly to produce than other meat, such as beef or chicken. The end product also has all the essential omega 3’s present in its protein without the mercury in comparison to fish caught in the wild by tradition.

With such benefits, we may see a great need for alternative products soon.

Need help navigating the unstable market? Enlist the help of Silo

The uncertainty of the seafood market can be difficult to navigate. To survive, companies will need to innovate and integrate fintech solutions like Silo into their business process.

Silo’s seafood financing is all about empowering your business to grow by providing you with simple, cost-effective, and discreet access to working capital. Worry less about risk and consider supercharging your business with Silo Capital, created to empower your business.

It’s no secret that banks are more likely to provide funding to a large corporation. That’s why we’ve designed our products to cater to small and medium-sized businesses with solutions built specifically for the seafood industry.

Take Silo Instant Pay, for instance. With Silo Instant Pay, businesses no longer have to wait for their customers to pay their invoice. No matter the length of your customers terms, Silo will pay up to 90% of the invoice total in just 3 days so that you can put your money to work right away.

Other solutions like Silo PO Advance help seafood companies quickly secure loads of supply that they need to quickly diversify their offerings when demand shifts or a hot commodity becomes scarce.

You can also grow your company by taking advantage of Silo Cash Advance, which gives you the confidence to execute on market opportunities, secure demand, and grow your bottom line.

Book a demo on Silo’s website today to learn more about how Silo Capital can help your seafood business thrive.

Want to book a demo with us?

Add your info and we’ll get one scheduled with you.

Nice to meet you!

By submitting this info, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.



A member of the Silo team will be in touch soon.