Best first half-year of all time for Norwegian seafood exports

Photo: Norwegian Seafood Council

The export value of Norwegian seafood has never been higher in the first half of the year than in 2021, the Norwegian Seafood Council announced in a recent press release.

In the first six months of the year, Norway exported seafood worth NOK 53.7 billion. This represents a growth in value of just over 1 percent, or NOK 646 million when measured against the first half of last year.

Renate Larsen, CEO of the Norwegian Seafood Council says, “Despite a strengthened Norwegian krone and the fact that the markets are still affected by the corona pandemic, the first half of the year has been the best ever for seafood exports when measured by value. Strong demand for healthy, safe, and sustainable Norwegian seafood is the most important reason why we are experiencing another export record.” 

The market has seen a high demand for seafood from Norway and according to Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen, Minister of Fisheries and Seafood, this is fantastic news for seafood export. “This is fantastic news for seafood exports. Not only are we well ahead of the strong half-year we saw in 2019, but this is also the best half-year ever for seafood exports so far. Not even the worldwide pandemic has prevented an increase in demand for and exports of Norwegian seafood. This is cause to be proud while acknowledging that a lot of hard work lies behind these successes. We have an adaptable industry with good people working at all levels. I have great faith that there will be even more opportunities for the sector when society reopens fully.” 

It is especially South Korea that has seen the most substantial increase in export value in the first half of the year and according to the press release, exports to South Korea have increased from NOK 358 million to NOK 1.9 billion. Salmon, mackerel, and king crab are the species that have increased the most in this market.

CEO Renate Larsen says, “South Korea is an exciting growth market and is embracing Norwegian seafood like never before. In the first half of 2021, several supermarket chains have run large national campaigns for Norwegian salmon and mackerel, contributing to a sharp growth in demand. The increase in seafood sales is from both traditional retail and online stores. In some grocery chains, online shopping of Norwegian mackerel accounts for up to 30 percent of turnover.”

China was amongst the largest recipients of frozen cod in the first half-year and Norway exported 44,300 tonnes of frozen cod worth NOK 1.7 billion. Although this represents an increase in the volume of 10 percent, the export value fell by NOK 146 million, or 8 percent, compared with the first half of last year.

Norway exported 116,500 tonnes of mackerel worth NOK 1.8 billion in the first half of the year with South Korea, Vietnam, and Japan being the largest markets. Export levels remained the same level as last year but the value fell by NOK 224 million, or 11 percent, compared with the first half of last year.

The first half of 2021 represented the best half-year ever for king crab with Norway exporting 1,100 tonnes worth NOK 426 million. Hong Kong, South Korea, and the United States were the largest recipients of king crab in the first half of the year.

Ørjan Kjærvik Olsen, Responsible for Shellfish with the Norwegian Seafood Council says, “Throughout the first half of the year, we have had tremendous demand for Norwegian king crab from both the grocery trade in the USA and from the restaurant market in Asia. Combined with a gradual opening of restaurants in Europe, this has led to high prices. Combined with several boats that have delivered higher volumes than before, we get the best first half-year ever for king crab.”

Read the full press release from the Norwegian Seafood Council and more on the subject here

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