High prices deliver a record April for Norwegian seafood exporters

Norway exported NOK 11.3 billion (USD 1.2 billion, EUR 1.1 billion) worth of fisheries and aquaculture products to overseas markets in April.

Norway exported NOK 11.3 billion (USD 1.2 billion, EUR 1.1 billion) worth of fisheries and aquaculture products to overseas markets in April, posting the highest value for that month in the industry’s history.

Compared with April 2021, the increase in value was 33 percent or NOK 2.8 billion (USD 301 million, EUR 284.8 million).

For the first four months of 2022, the Scandinavian country shipped NOK 45.4 billion (USD 4.9 billion, EUR 4.6 billion) worth of seafood, representing year-on-year growth of 25 percent.

“Higher prices for our key species such as salmon, cod, trout, and haddock [were] the biggest contributors to value growth [last] month,” Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC) Acting CEO Børge Grønbech said.

Grønbech cited several reasons for the high prices, including the sharp rise of food prices globally and the depleted supply of popular seafood products and species in the market. He also said that the reopening of hotels and restaurants has brought increased demand from buyers who are willing to pay more, and that more people have learned how to cook more seafood at home.

“It is still demanding to maintain a global retail trade,” Grønbech said. “More-expensive input factors, rising energy and fuel prices, and more-demanding logistics are some of the factors that contribute to this. Furthermore, it will be challenging to build markets with such fluctuating prices, even if Norwegian seafood is stable.”

NSC reported that in April, Norway exported 82,500 metric tons (MT) of farmed Atlantic salmon, worth NKO 8.1 billion (USD 870.9 million, EUR 824 million), with the export volume falling 3 percent and the value increasing 43 percent compared with the corresponding month of 2021.

Poland, France, and Denmark offered the largest markets for the species.

“We've seen a record-breaking export month for salmon, as a result of a high salmon price. A higher average salmon price has never been measured in a single month. There is a lower production volume globally in combination with a growth in demand that drives the price upwards,” NSC Seafood Analyst Paul Aandahl said.

Norway also exported 3,400 MT of trout worth NOK 317 million (USD 34.1 million, EUR 32.2 million), with the volume falling 9 percent, and the value rising 31 percent. Thailand, the United States, and Japan provided the largest trout markets.

Trout prices have largely followed those of salmon, Aandahl said.

“Despite the negative development in trout exports to important trout markets such as Belarus and Ukraine, the average price for fresh whole trout was NOK 94.50 (USD 10.16, EUR 9.61) per kilogram in April. This was only 3 percent lower than the average price for fresh whole salmon,” Aandahl said.

From its whitefish sector, Norway shipped a total 7,700 MT of fresh cod in April, earning NOK 363 million (USD 38.8 million million, EUR 36.8 million million), with the volume falling 32 percent and the value down 5 percent. Denmark, the Netherlands, and Portugal provided the top three markets.

At the same time, 6,300 MT of frozen cod, worth NOK 323 million (USD 39 million, EUR 36.9 million), was sold overseas, with the volume down 16 percent and value rising 4 percent compared with April 2021. China, the United Kingdom, and the United States were the product’s top markets.

Meanwhile, the pelagic sector exported 14,700 MT of herring, valued at NOK 224 million (USD 24.1 million, EUR 22.8 million), with the volume and rising 25 percent and 10 percent respectively. It also sold 8,100 MT of mackerel worth NOK 157 million (USD 16.9 million, EUR 16 million), representing decreases in volume and value of 20 percent and 7 percent, respectively.

Egypt, Poland, and Lithuania offered the largest markets for Norwegian herring last month, while Vietnam, China, and South Korea were the main markets for the country’s mackerel. Mackerel exports are now entering a low season after the large volumes from the fishing season were exported from August to February, NSC advised. 

The council also noted that the average price of exported mackerel in April was a high NOK 19.44 (USD 2.09, EUR 1.98) per kilogram, an increase of 17 percent over last April.

Norway’s shellfish sector exported 62 MT of king crab worth NOK 39 million (USD 4.2 million, EUR 4 million), representing a volume decrease of 40 percent and a 7 percent lower value. The United States, Japan, and Denmark were the product’s largest markets.

The country also sold 797 MT of snow crab worth NOK 141 million (USD 15.2 million, EUR 14.3 million), up 5 percent and 17 percent respectively. This was in addition to 733 MT of shrimp with a value of NOK 60 million (USD 6.5 million, EUR 6.1 million), with the volume and value falling by 19 percent and 9 percent.

In the first quarter of this year, Norway exported a Q1 record of NOK 34 billion (USD 3.7 billion, EUR 3.5 billion) worth of seafood.

Photo courtesy of TY Lim/Shutterstock


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