Norwegian seafood exports break more value records, on course to earn USD 14 billion in 2022

Published on
November 4, 2022
A set of six sushi rolls wrapped in Norwegian salmon.

Overcoming the inflationary squeeze on consumers’ pockets, Norway once again achieved its best-ever month for seafood export earnings in October.

In total, the Scandinavian country sold NOK 15.4 billion (USD 1.5 billion, EUR 1.5 billion) worth of fisheries and aquaculture products to overseas markets last month, a new record total and up 27 percent, or NOK 3.3 billion (USD 310.9 million, EUR 319 million), compared with October 2021. The export value in October was also NOK 727 million (USD 68.5 million, EUR 70.2 million) higher than the previous record month (September 2022), confirmed the Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC).

In terms of end markets, the United States delivered the most value growth for Norway in October, up 83 percent or NOK 581 million (USD 54.7 million, EUR 56.1 million) compared with October 2021. The total seafood volume sold to the U.S. market increased 18 percent to 10,866 metric tons (MT).

"Norwegian seafood exports experienced historical growth in October. The value of NOK 15 billion is more than a solid record. It means that every day this month, we exported seafood worth just under NOK 500 million (USD 47.1 million, EUR 48.3 million). These are enormous numbers and show how vital this industry is to Norway,” NSC CEO Christian Chramer said. 

To-date in 2022, Norway has exported NOK 123.9 billion (USD 11.7 billion, EUR 12 billion) worth of seafood, which is NOK 27.1 billion (USD 2.6 billion, EUR 2.6 billion) ahead of the same period last year and surpasses the NOK 120.8 billion (USD 11.4 billion, EUR 11.7 billion) achieved in the whole of 2021.

“With good development in the last two months of the year, the export value of Norwegian seafood will pass NOK 150 billion (USD 14.1 billion, EUR 14.5 billion) in 2022. That is impressive and close to tripling in 10 years,” Chramer said.

Despite the strong growth, there are grounds for concern, he said.

"We live in demanding and troubled times, with high food inflation and a fierce battle for proteins worldwide. Hence, the historically high prices for Norwegian seafood,” Chramer said. “In addition, a weaker Norwegian krone in October helped to lift the export value. The price in Norwegian kroner will be higher with a weaker Norwegian krone.”

Other challenging factors include seafood consumption changes and tighter private household finances in major markets.

"Several countries are reporting a decline in domestic consumption of seafood while the restaurant market is also experiencing challenging times. Expectations of a significantly weaker economic development, therefore, cast a shadow over the outlook going forward,” Chramer said.

In terms of products, Norway exported 133,105 MT of salmon last month, with the trade valued at a monthly record NOK 10.6 billion (USD 997.7 million, EUR 1 billion), with the volume rising 5 percent and the value soaring by 34 percent compared with October last year. Poland, the United States, and France were the largest recipients of Norwegian salmon.

At the same time, the country sold 5,019 MT of trout valued at NOK 465 million (USD 43.8 million, EUR 44.9 million), with the volume falling 18 percent, and the value rising 19 percent. The United States, Thailand, and Japan provided the main markets, with the average export price for fresh fillets reaching a record NOK 142 (USD 13.37, EUR 13.71) per kilogram.

From its whitefish sector, Norway shipped 2,080 MT of fresh cod last month, earning NOK 131 million (USD 12.3 million, EUR 12.6 million), with the volume and value rising 14 percent and 48 percent respectively. Denmark, Spain, and Sweden provided the top three markets.

NSC confirmed the export price of whole fresh cod and fresh cod fillets climbed to NOK 56 (USD 5.27, EUR 5.41) and NOK 125 (USD 11.76, EUR 12.07) per kilogram, respectively.

October was also a strong month for Norway’s frozen cod sector, with overseas sales totaling 4,697 MT, worth NOK 274 million (USD 25.8 million, EUR 26.5 million), with the volume and value rising 4 percent and 32 percent respectively. China, the United Kingdom, and the United States were the product’s top markets.

The export price of frozen whole cod reached a new record high level of over NOK 57 (USD 5.36, EUR 5.50) per kilogram.

Meanwhile, pelagic fish exporters shipped 26,651 MT of herring, valued at NOK 398 million (USD 37.5 million, EUR 38.4 million), with the volume and value falling 52 percent and 45 percent respectively. They also sold 75,639 MT of mackerel worth NOK 1.4 billion (USD 131.8 million, EUR 135.2 million), representing a 23 percent increase in volume and a rise in value of 55 percent.

Germany, Poland, and Lithuania offered the largest markets for Norwegian herring last month, while Japan, South Korea, and China were the main markets for the country’s mackerel.

Norway’s shellfish sector reported another good month for overseas shrimp sales, with some 1,446 MT of products with a value of NOK 104 million (USD 9.8 million, EUR 10 million) exported. While the trade volume was down 2 percent, the value climbed 26 percent.

Additionally, the country exported 110 MT of king crab worth NOK 77 million (USD 7.2 million, EUR 7.4 million) in October, representing a volume increase of 7 percent and a 49 percent higher value than a year previously. The United States, Canada, and the Netherlands were the product’s largest markets.

Norway also shipped 231 MT of snow crab worth NOK 33 million (USD 3.1 million, EUR 3.2 million) last month.  

Photo courtesy of the Norwegian Seafood Council

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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