Fishing group Sea Harvest has reported a slight fall in half-year profits amid shifting demand from consumers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The group operated as an essential service during the Covid-19 lockdown, saying  that there had been an increase in home consumption during the pandemic, but a slowdown in demand by pubs and restaurants.

This required a change in product mix, including diverting more product to retail markets, which negatively affected profits, the group said.

Profit fell 4% to R154.7m in the group’s six months to end-June, with it spending R16.7m on Covid-19 related costs, including for health and safety.

Group revenue increased 7% to R2bn, but revenue from Sea Harvest’s aquaculture business slumped 63% to R15m, due to a closure of Far East markets in early 2020, and the curtailment of air freight from SA.

“The group will continue to focus on its Covid-19 protocols to ensure the safety and wellbeing of its employees; continue to match supply with demand and conserve cash through the suspension of noncritical capital expenditure; and continue with its focus on sound working capital management,” the statement read.

In morning trade on Monday, Sea Harvest’s share was unchanged at R13.55, having fallen 6.87% so far in 2020.