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South Africa’s food industry is feeling the pinch of rising seafood prices and supply issues

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SAN ANTONIO – Local seafood sellers are the latest to feel the heat of rising prices and new supply chain issues as economic sanctions against Russia continue to create ripple effects.

Russian non-industrial seafood, alcohol and diamonds were hit with executive order sanctions in mid-March and the owner of local wholesale and retail seafood and shellfish supplier Groomer’s Seafood, Rick Groomer, said price increases are just another roadblock.

“We have had ongoing issues with pricing and supply since the start of COVID-19,” he said. “There have been wave after wave.”

Groomer said his company’s prices have gone up 20 to 50% depending on the product in recent months, due to the company’s reliance on global supply.

“The Russian situation has impacted things like king crab and snow crab,” he said. “The state of Texas produces some seafood, but the commercial industry is small in Texas compared to other states.”

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Despite the challenges, Groomer said he and his staff have adapted to the roadblocks and business is up as the US economy reopens.

“If there’s a shortage, you have no problem selling it, but it’s the ability to move it,” he said. “The economy is wide open, but there are shortages.”

Juan Juarez, general manager of the Mexican seafood restaurant Costa Pacifica – also located in the north of the city – said the prices of the restaurant’s menus had increased from the beginning of March.

“For every item, the price has gone up by at least 7%. They give me a price on Monday, and before the end of the day, it goes up,” he said.

Juarez also pointed to rising prices for Mexican-origin produce, including romaine lettuce, avocados and tomatoes, as another factor driving up prices.

“So far we’re taking the hit ourselves,” he said. “We have to do what we have to do.”

Despite another hurdle to the smooth running of business, Groomer maintains a spirit of resilience as more customers continue to go back to eating their favorite meals from the ocean.

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“It’s multiple layers of issues and logistics, like fuel prices and world events. But every day is an adventure. We never closed.

Editor’s Note: This story was published through a Partnership between KSAT and the San Antonio Business Journal.

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