Lower volumes lead to a slump in Norwegian pelagic exports

Published on
January 11, 2016

Norway exported pelagic fish worth a total of NOK 6.9 billion (EUR 713.8 million; USD 777.1 million) last year, which was 7 percent less than in 2014.

The Scandinavian country’s mackerel and herring exports in 2015 amounted to NOK 3.8 billion (EUR 393.1 million; USD 428 million) and NOK 2.4 billion (EUR 248.3 million; USD 270.3 million) respectively, representing decreases of 7 percent and 12 percent.

"The reduced export value for pelagic fish is a result of lower quotas for both herring and mackerel, while at the same time Norway is encountering trade restrictions in several important pelagic markets. Prices have risen on herring and mackerel, but the increase has not been large enough to compensate for the reduced volume," said Paul Aandahl, analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC).

Overall, the Netherlands was the largest export market for Norway’s pelagic fish last year, followed by Japan and China.

Japan was the largest export market for Norwegian mackerel, importing NOK 715 million (EUR 74 million; USD 80.5 million) worth of the fish last year, which was a decrease of 12 percent. For China, which was the second largest market, exports declined by 35 percent to NOK 518 million (EUR 53.6 million; USD 58.3 million).

Sales of mackerel to the Netherlands, which is an important transshipment market for pelagic fish, increased by 35 percent to NOK 492 million (EUR 50.9 million; USD 55.4 million).

A total of 344,000 metric tons (MT) of frozen mackerel was exported in 2015, which was 11 percent less than the year before. The average price achieved for frozen whole mackerel was NOK 10.60 (EUR 1.10; USD 1.19) per kg in 2015, an increase of 4 percent from 2014.

Germany was the No. 1 market for Norwegian herring last year, importing NOK 347 million (EUR 35.9 million; USD 39.1 million) worth of the species in 2015. A further, NOK 283 million (EUR 29.3 million; USD 31.9 million) worth of herring was exported to Poland and NOK 272 million (EUR 28.1 million; USD 30.6 million) to Lithuania. 

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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