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Live fish trade plummets as coronavirus blamed for scaring customers away from Chinese restaurants March 24,2020   |  Source: MSN

The live fish trade out of Tasmania is the latest casualty for the seafood industry, as coronavirus scares customers away from Chinese restaurants.

Rock lobster and abalone exports from the island state were already under pressure from the global spread of COVID-19.

Processor and exporter Steve Crocker usually exports lobster, abalone and live fish to overseas and mainland markets.

This time of year he would usually send about 1,500 kilograms of live fish to the markets in Sydney and Melbourne each week.

He is currently sending less than 400kg.

"Our [Chinese] tourist numbers are not there anymore, and the local community are all concerned about dining in a Chinese restaurant," Mr Crocker said.

He said social media had scared people out of going to restaurants.

"It's fear factor of catching the virus in a restaurant, and it's pretty well unfounded," he said.

"It's exactly like the toilet paper scenario, it's just been blown out of all proportion and it affects so many people."

Seventy-eight fisherman are involved in the Tasmanian fishery and most are owner-operators who employ multiple deckhands.

"We sell live fish into the Sydney and Melbourne markets, it's been affected probably by 70 per cent … because no one is going out to buy fish," Shane

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