Record start for Norwegian seafood exports in 2022

A Norwegian herring vessel.

Norway exported NOK 10.3 billion (USD 1.2 billion, EUR 1 billion) worth of seafood products last month, the highest January value ever achieved by the Scandinavian country.

The country achieved a gain in export value of 26 percent, or NOK 2.1 billion (USD 238.9 million, EUR 208.7 million), in the month, despite a 17 percent drop in volume.

“January this year gave the highest export value ever, and thus the strong trend continues from 2021. Despite challenges with the corona pandemic, prices for many of our products increased. It was also a January record in both value and volume for salmon,” Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC) CEO Renate Larsen said. “Salmon consolidated its strong position and accounted for 70 percent of the total value. In overseas markets such as North America and Asia, restaurant openings and improved logistics have resulted in growth in exports, especially for whole fresh salmon.”

According to Larsen, there was a clear difference in export trends in January. While fish from aquaculture had a value growth of 42 percent, there was a decrease in both volume and value on the wild-catch side.

“Occasionally bad weather presented some challenges for the fleet. Still, thanks to significant growth in demand in the markets, there was increased value for several wild-caught products, including cod and saithe,” she said.

NSC reported that in January, Norway exported 196,500 metric tons (MT) of farmed Atlantic salmon, worth NOK 7.2 billion (USD 818.6 million, EUR 715.4 million). Compared with the corresponding month of 2021, last month’s export volume and value were up 2 percent and 41 percent, respectively.

France, Poland, and the United States offered the top markets for the species, with the share of salmon exports to the E.U. falling from 67 percent to 60 percent.

"In general, we see a shift towards overseas markets for salmon. Markets such as Poland and Lithuania, which process most salmon into smoked products, are reducing imports. This is related to the substantial price increase,” NSC Seafood Analyst Paul Aandahl said.

Norway also exported 4,400 MT of trout worth NOK 338 million (USD 38.4 million, EUR 33.6 million), with exported volume and value growing 16 percent and 57 percent, respectively. The United States, Thailand, and Japan provided Norway's largest trout markets.

From its whitefish sector, Norway shipped 4,800 MT of fresh cod in January, earning NOK 260 million (USD 29.6 million, EUR 25.8 million) – up 23 percent and 44 percent, respectively – with Denmark, Sweden, and Spain offering Norway's top markets. Export prices soared as high as NOK 66 (USD 7.50, EUR 6.56) per kilogram in the month.

At the same time, the country exported 11,800 MT of frozen cod, worth a record NOK 482 million (USD 54.8 million, EUR 47.9 million), with exports  rising 70 percent by volume and 84 percent by value compared with January 2021. China, the United Kingdom, and the United States were the product’s top markets.

Norway's pelagic sector exported 19,200 MT of herring, valued at NOK 251 million (USD 28.5 million, EUR 24.9 million), with the volume and value down 46 percent and 28 percent respectively. It also sold 25,200 MT of mackerel worth NOK 464 million (USD 52.7 million, EUR 46.1 million), representing decreases of 39 percent and 26 percent. Poland, Lithuania, and Germany offered the largest markets for Norwegian herring in January, while South Korea, China, and Japan were the main markets for the country’s mackerel.

Poor weather, purse-seine boats engaged in capelin fishing in Iceland, and a lower quota for Norwegian spring-spawning herring were the main reasons provided by NSC for the lower-than-usual herring catches.

The weather and an expected lower quota also contributed to the reduced mackerel landings. However, mackerel exports were still at a high level compared to all previous years, except for January 2021, which set an export record. 

Norway’s shellfish sector exported 132 MT of king crab worth NOK 77 million (USD 8.7 million, EUR 7.6 million), representing a volume decrease of 55 percent and 20 percent lower value. The United States, South Korea, and Denmark were the product’s largest markets.

It also sold 909 MT of shrimp with a value of NOK 69 million (USD 7.8 million, EUR 6.9 million), with exported volumes and value rising by 3 percent. The United Kingdom, Sweden, and Finland were the main destinations for Norwegian shrimp.

In 2021, Norway exported 3.1 million MT of seafood products worth NOK 120.8 billion (USD 13.7 billion, EUR 12 billion), the highest-ever trade volume and value totals achieved on record.  

Photo courtesy of Alessandro De Maddalena/Shutterstock


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