‘Wicked Tuna’ – How the pandemic devastated the bluefin market

Carraro and company struggle with depressed demand

Dave Carraro of ‘Wicked Tuna’ Sunday on National Geographic

Q: How much did the pandemic change the way you did things?

A: It was completely different. With the pandemic, as we all know, many businesses were either shut down or at limited capacity, and same goes for the restaurants. And our fish goes to restaurants, and the restaurants were either closed or it’s limited capacity. Therefore, there was not a very large demand for bluefin tuna, therefore the buyers were only taking fish on a trial basis and it was only three days a week and we did not start at the official opening of the year on June 1st because the pandemic was just getting going and they said, “Hey, we’re gonna put it off and we’ll start taking fish from you three days a week in the middle of July.” So we didn’t get to fish every day. You know, it was three days a week and that was it. If we fished every day and everybody went out and caught fish, the market would be flooded instantly.

Q: So in the past when you were getting $18-20 a pound, what are you getting now?

A: A lot less, so it was a struggle for all of us. Not only were we getting less but we were only allowed to fish three days a week. So if we were lucky and we caught three fish for that week at a lesser price, we were able to make ends meet. But you know, there are times where you can go three days without a fish and then you’ve got to wait for the next week, so it was something we were not used to. And at a lower price, so we had to watch our spending. You know, we had to travel slower and burn less fuel, we had to fish closer. We just had to really keep our expenses at bay.

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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