China's novel coronavirus strain may not be in Hawke's Bay but the region's fishing industry is feeling the effects.
Takitimu Seafoods interim chief executive Taine Randell said that because of what's happening with the virus in China many people are holding their breath over what will happen with live seafood exports.
Coronaviruses are a large and diverse family of viruses which includes the common cold, severe acute respiratory syndrome – better known as Sars - and Middle East respiratory syndrome (Mers).
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This month, officials in China identified a new coronavirus strain called novel coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV.
Since then, it's infected more than 2700 people and killed at least 81.
This new virus has hit the seafood industry because Shanghai closed off its seafood market last week with no date on when it will reopen.
"It's not just an issue that is happening now," Randell said. "It can carry on into the year and the crayfish industry is very much a provincial growth market for smaller regions ... it's them that will feel the impact."
He said areas such as Mahia, which has a strong crayfish industry, will continue to feel the impact if this closure continues.
Fisherman in New Zealand get a crayfish quota every year (starting April 1 – ending March 31) and tend to hold off on using most of it till this busy period, which could lead to potential issues, according to Randell.
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"The issue for crayfishing going with those that have a big quota, it might not be viable for them to go out and catch it," he said.
"Nationally we have around 600 tonne left to fish from this year's quota, which is about $60 million that no one is going to see.
"For Hawke's Bay that adds up to around 110 tonnes that's not going to be utilised.
"Many of the local fisherman will miss out on about $10m-$11m."
The former All Blacks captain said the crayfish industry in New Zealand is like the "glory boy" of the fishing industry and has an extremely strong live crayfish market in China during certain parts of the year.
"The market in China changes throughout the year and live crayfish prices are at their highest during special holiday periods, which peaks during Chinese New Year which started last week."
It is the best time of year because during this Chinese New Year period fisherman would get paid between $90-$100/kg and during low times the prices might go down to anything around $50.
It wasn't the best of timing having live seafood imports into China close just as the Chinese New Year kicked off, but Randell said that although the industry will feel a little pinch local crayfish lovers will enjoy the cheaper product in the local market.
Randell said Takitimu Seafoods won't feel much of the pinch because it sells mainly locally.
He said the huge amount of live crayfish earmarked for export to China but still stuck in New Zealand will have to be sold here because crayfish can last only a couple of weeks in their purpose-built tanks, which will mean a huge influx on the local market and cheaper prices.