Demand for seafood is high, especially for wild-caught fish due to population growth, health benefits, and sustainability issues. Supply is dwindling rapidly due to overfishing and water pollution, resulting in a situation where demand far exceeds supply. This has caused prices to skyrocket, with one of the main factors driving up the cost of fish being overfishing. The rule of supply and demand is at play here; seafood is in high demand all over the world, yet acquiring ingredients from the sea is more difficult than growing them on land.
Seafood is also more likely to go bad, and the logistics of getting them inland are also difficult. This rarity is an expensive luxury to pay for, and even in the form of cultivated species, you can expect to pay much more. The manual labor required for all of these activities is another factor that increases the cost because it involves a large amount of labor and workers must be paid. Seafood has high amounts of protein, vitamin D, phosphate, calcium, zinc, vitamin B2 and omega-3 fatty acids, among other healthy minerals.
As people become more and more concerned about their health, demand increases. The number of industrial farms has increased noticeably, while seafood caught in the wild has declined. This helps to close the gap between supply and demand for seafood, raising prices. It is to be expected that this trend will continue and effectively reduce the costs of seafood. Regulations also dictate when certain types of fish are available for fishing, how much they can catch, and who can fish. This limits the amount of wild fish that can be purchased in a given period of time before fish stocks around the world decline and more species expand. Fishing is also a dangerous job, driving up the price of certain types of fish that are difficult to catch.
Skinny fish are not a desirable purchase, and fish with a weak immune system have a bad habit of returning dead, and disgruntled owners demand reimbursement. The flavor of seafood changes within 24 hours, so it needs to be as fresh as possible from the ocean. This means that freight costs can be high if there are only a few larger fish in a box; 25 pounds or more may need to be claimed for each one in freight and transport costs alone before considering the price of the fish. Finally, some types of fish need to be cooked by experts to be safe for consumption. This adds an extra layer of cost. In conclusion, there are many factors that contribute to why fish is so expensive. From overfishing to manual labor costs to rarity and freight costs, it's no wonder why prices are so high in the seafood category.