Norway sets new cod export record, but frozen trade declines

Published on
January 8, 2016

Norway exported cod, saithe, haddock and other whitefish worth a record NOK 13 billion (EUR 1.3 billion; USD 1.5 billion) last year, which was 8 percent or NOK 1 billion (EUR 103.3 million; USD 112.4 million) more than in 2014.

"The year 2015 was a record year for the cod sector, which after several years of low prices is now being rewarded for extraordinary efforts by stakeholders with good prices achieved for most products. Lower quotas, late spawning of cod, a good market for fresh fish, combined with live storage and a favorable exchange rate trend have all led to good prices and a record year for the cod industry," said Ove Johansen, analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC).

The export value of all fresh codfish products in 2015 totaled NOK 2.8 billion (EUR 289.3 million; USD 314.5 million), which at 18 percent or NOK 437 million (EUR 45.1 million; USD 49.1 million) more than the previous year, set a new record. In volume terms, these exports were 3 percent lower than in 2014, but the average price increased by 22 percent.

Exports of fresh cod amounted to NOK 1.5 billion (EUR 155 million; USD 168.5 million), up 24 percent from 2014, with the product achieving a 35 percent higher average export price of NOK 26.73 (EUR 2.76; USD 3) last year.

At the same time, exports of fresh whole saithe increased from NOK 75 million (EUR 7.7 million; USD 8.4 million) to NOK 142 million (EUR 14.7 million; USD 15.9 million), and exports of fresh whole haddock increased from NOK 323 million (EUR 33.4 million; USD 36.3 million) to NOK 331 million (EUR 34.2 million; USD 37.2 million).

In addition, Norway exported NOK 492 million (EUR 50.8 million; USD 55.2 million) worth of fresh fillets, an increase of 8 percent or NOK 34.5 million (EUR 3.6 million; USD 3.9 million) on the previous year. Within this total, it shipped NOK 370 million (EUR 38.2 million; USD 41.5 million) worth of fresh cod fillets, an increase of NOK 4 million (EUR 413,322; USD 449,072), while exports of fresh haddock fillets increased from NOK 78 million (EUR 8.1 million; USD 8.8 million) to NOK 103 million (EUR 10.6 million; USD 11.6 million).

The average export price for cod fillets last year was NOK 73.46 (EUR 7.59; USD 8.24) per kg, 20 percent more than in 2014. The haddock fillet price, meanwhile, increased by 9 percent to NOK 63.48 (EUR 6.56; USD 7.12).

It was, though, quite a different story for the country’s frozen whitefish exports last year. Exports of all frozen codfish products fell by NOK 89 million (EUR 9.2 million; USD 10 million) to a total of NOK 4.3 billion (EUR 444.3 million; USD 482.5 million). The total volume decreased 19 percent.

Exports of whole frozen fish decreased by NOK 123 million (EUR 12.7 million; USD 13.8 million) to a total of NOK 3.5 billion (EUR 361.7 million; USD 392.8 million). Within this total, its frozen whole cod exports decreased from NOK 1.8 billion (EUR 186 million; USD 202 million) in 2014 to NOK 1.6 billion (EUR 165.4 million; USD 179.5 million) last year, and its frozen whole haddock shipments fell from NOK 960 million (EUR 99.2 million; USD 107.7 million) to NOK 673 million (EUR 69.6 million; USD 75.5 million).

There were some notable increases within the category last year, however, including the total export value of frozen whole Greenland halibut which increased from NOK 367 million (EUR 37.9 million; USD 41.2 million) to NOK 560 million (EUR 57.8 million; USD 62.9 million), while frozen whole saithe went from NOK 221 million (EUR 22.8 million; USD 24.8 million) to NOK 347 million (EUR 35.9 million; USD 38.9 million) and redfish increased from NOK 158 million (EUR 16.3 million; USD 17.7 million) to NOK 242 million (EUR 25 million; USD 27.2 million).

Exports of frozen fillets increased from NOK 750 million (EUR 77.5 million; USD 84.2 million) to NOK 789 million (EUR 81.5 million; USD 88.6 million) in 2015. The total volume of these products decreased 11 percent, while the average price increased by 25 percent.

According to the NSC, China in particular is reducing its purchase of frozen products. In 2014, it purchased about half of Norway’s frozen whole codfish, but its share decreased to 36 percent last year.

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

Want seafood news sent to your inbox?

You may unsubscribe from our mailing list at any time. Diversified Communications | 121 Free Street, Portland, ME 04101 | +1 207-842-5500