The Norwegian Seafood exports remain ahead of last year


According to the report launched on 5 October 2020, the export value of Norwegian seafood remains above last year’s record highs. So far for 2020, seafood exports have totalled NOK 76.7 billion, which corresponds to a value increase of 1 per cent, or NOK 623 million, compared to the same period last year.

CEO of the Norwegian Seafood Council, Renate Larsen says:

“That we are managing to stay ahead of last year in export value, is due to the strong start to the year, a weak Norwegian kroner, higher export volumes and processing of individual products. So far in 2020, herring, mackerel and products made from these species account for the largest increase in value, while there has been a fall in the export value of salmon, clipfish of cod and shrimp.”

Minister of Fisheries and Seafood Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen (H) says:

“The record high export values seen in the first nine months of the year is incredibly impressive. Again, the industry shows that it has many legs to stand on. Norway is known for being a safe provider of healthy and safe seafood, and this has been important during this period marked by many other uncertainties.”

Negative developments

Although the value of Norwegian seafood exports for the first nine months of the year is higher than in the same period last year, quarterly statistics show a negative development:

  • First-quarter: NOK 28,5 billion (+11 per cent)
  • Second-quarter: NOK 24,6 billion (-3 per cent)
  • Third-quarter: NOK 23,6 billion (-5 per cent)

In September, seafood exports amounted to NOK 8.6 billion, which corresponds to a decrease in the export value of 2 per cent, or almost NOK 150 million, measured against the same period last year.

“After a relatively large decline in export value in August, we see that the value in September is closer to 2019 figures. The species that have increased in value the most are salmon, trout, salted fish and king crab. On the other hand, we are still seeing a decline in demand for most other products. For clipfish, this has also led to a lower export value in September this year, compared with the same period last year”, says Renate Larsen, CEO of the Norwegian Seafood Council.

New possibilities

Minister of Fisheries and Seafood, Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen, says that it is gratifying that exports of salmon have shown an increase in September and that the export volume so far this year is on a par with last year.

“One of the reasons is that consumers did not stop eating salmon when the restaurants closed but moved the consumption of salmon home to the kitchen. Corona thus creates not only challenges but also new opportunities for Norwegian seafood. The industry must learn from and utilize this in the future”

The salmon market is turning

Norway exported 800,000 tonnes of salmon to a value of NOK 51.8 billion in the first nine months of the year.

  • Export volume was at the same level as last year.
  • Export value fell by NOK 363 million, or 1 per cent, compared with the same period last year.
  • The average price for fresh whole salmon so far this year is NOK 59.82 per kg, down 0.9 per cent from the same period in 2019.

Poland, France and Denmark have been the largest recipients of Norwegian salmon.

Paul T. Aandahl, Seafood Analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council says “The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a shift in exports to markets that further process a large proportion of salmon for resale, mainly to retailers in other markets. Poland has been the largest market here, increasing its share of export volume to 16 per cent of all fresh whole salmon exports to just under 18 per cent this year.”

Good September for salmon

After a reduction in exports in July and August, the figures for September have shown renewed growth in the export value of salmon:

  • 111,800 tonnes of salmon worth NOK 6.1 billion were exported.
  • There is an increase in the volume of 3 per cent.
  • The value increased by NOK 105 million, or 2 per cent, compared with September last year.
  • The average price for fresh whole salmon was NOK 49.54, down 1 per cent from the same time last year.

So far this year, the amount of exported fresh and frozen fillets has increased by 18 per cent. This means that about 20 per cent of the exported salmon is processed in Norway. The corresponding share at the same time last year was 17 per cent.

Paul T. Aandahl, Seafood Analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council says “The reduction in the holiday season is a result of reduced demand, especially in the restaurant sector in Europe. Now we are back at about the same level we were before the holidays.”

Value increase for trout

  • Norway exported 53,000 tonnes of trout worth NOK 2.9 billion during the first nine months of the year.
  • Export volumes increased by 31 per cent.
  • Export values increased by NOK 280 million, or 11 per cent, compared with the same period last year.
  • Ukraine, the USA and Belarus have been the largest markets for Norwegian trout.

Like the first three quarters, the figures for September also show an increase in the value of trout:

  • 7,500 tonnes of trout worth NOK 370 million were exported.
  • Trout export volumes increased by 41 per cent.
  • Export value increased by NOK 67 million, or 22 per cent, compared with September last year.

Fresh cod hard hit

  • Norway exported 41,800 tonnes of fresh cod worth NOK 1.9 billion in the first nine months of the year.
  • There is a decrease in volume of 6 per cent.
  • The value fell by NOK 44 million, or 2 per cent, compared with the same period last year.
  • Denmark, the Netherlands and Poland have been the largest recipients of fresh cod from Norway.

Ingrid Kristine Pettersen, Seafood Analyst of the Norwegian Seafood Council says “After a good start to the year with both price and volume growth compared with the same period last year, fresh cod has been hit hard by the corona crisis. The reason is first and foremost that restaurants and fresh food counters were closed down. During the summer, however, export volumes have picked up, and although prices are still below last year, they have increased since the price base in May.”

The export figures for September show a fall in value for fresh cod:

  • 1,800 tonnes of fresh cod worth NOK 82 million were exported.
  • There is an increase in the volume of 7 per cent.
  • The value fell by NOK 3 million, or 3 per cent, compared with September last year.

Value-added for frozen cod

  • Norway exported 53,100 tonnes of frozen cod worth NOK 2.4 billion in the first nine months of the year.
  • Export volume remains at the same level as last year.
  • Export value increased by NOK 153 million, or 7 per cent, compared with the same period last year.
  • China, the United Kingdom and Lithuania have been the largest recipients of frozen cod from Norway.

There is growth for both frozen whole and frozen fillets of cod so far this year, which is due to the fact that prices are on average above last year.

Increased demand for frozen fillets

Ingrid Kristine Pettersen, Seafood Analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council says “We still see a change in the picture for export value so far in 2020. While the prices of frozen fillets are still above the same period last year, the price of frozen whole cod has fallen significantly in the period. One explanation for the fact that frozen fillets have achieved higher prices is due to increased demand for this type of product in the grocery trade during the corona crisis.”

In September, there is a decline in both the value and volume of frozen cod:

  • 3,400 tonnes of frozen cod worth NOK 140 million were exported.
  • This represents a decrease in the volume of 11 per cent.
  • The export value fell by NOK 26 million, or 15 per cent, compared with September last year.

Challenging for clipfish

  • Norway exported 55,800 tonnes of clipfish worth NOK 2.9 billion in the first nine months of the year.
  • This is a reduction in the volume of 14 per cent.
  • The export value fell by NOK 343 million, or 11 per cent, compared with the same period last year.
  • Portugal, the Dominican Republic and Brazil have been the largest markets for Norwegian clipfish.

Falling demand as a result of the corona crisis has hit exports of clipfish hard, which has been reflected in both falling volumes and prices so far this year. This has particularly affected clipfish of cod, where exports have fallen by 23 per cent so far this year, compared with the same period last year.

The Brazilian export market has halved

“Portugal and Brazil dominate the clipfish market, where the latter in particular has been hit hard by both the corona crisis and a weak local currency. Good demand in the Caribbean throughout the corona period has meant that exports of saithe clipfish have improved somewhat”, says Ingrid Kristine Pettersen, Seafood Analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

In the autumn, Brazil traditionally takes a larger share of exports, especially of saithe clipfish, but in August and September, exports there were almost halved, compared with last year. This applies to both clipfish of cod and saithe.

Increased demand for saithe

“The number of infected and dead as a result of the pandemic is returning in Brazil. Restaurants have reopened, which is important for the demand for cod clipfish. The Seafood Council registers an increased demand for saithe, most likely as a cheaper replacement for cod and as a result of increased demand from the hotel and restaurant sector. The challenge is that exports are limited by availability as a result of increased exports to, among others, the Dominican Republic, says Øystein Valanes, the Norwegian Seafood Council’s fisheries envoy to Brazil.

In September, the export value of Norwegian clipfish fell, compared with the same month last year:

  • 8,200 tonnes of clipfish worth NOK 429 million were exported.
  • This is a reduction of 16 per cent in volume.
  • The value fell by NOK 117 million, or 21 per cent, compared with September last year.

Lower prices for salted fish

  • Norway exported 19,700 tonnes of salted fish worth NOK 1.2 billion in the first nine months of the year.
  • There is an increase in the volume of 1 per cent.
  • The value increased by NOK 81 million, or 8 per cent, compared with the same period last year.
  • Portugal, Spain and Italy have been our most important markets for Norwegian salted fish.

“Salted codfish have also been hard hit by falling demand due to the Coronavirus, especially from Portugal. In recent months, we have seen volume growth to Portugal, Spain and Italy, but prices are significantly lower than at the same time last year”, says Seafood Analyst Ingrid Kristine Pettersen with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

September was a good month for salted fish exports:

  • 1,600 tonnes of salted fish worth NOK 79.5 million were exported.
  • There is an increase in the volume of 48 per cent.
  • The value increased by NOK 28 million, or 55 per cent, compared with September last year.

A good year for herring

  • Norway exported 202,000 tonnes of herring worth NOK 2.5 billion in the first nine months of the year.
  • There is an increase in the volume of 1 per cent.
  • The value increased by NOK 586 million, or 31 per cent, compared with the same period last year.
  • Poland, Lithuania and the Netherlands have been the most important direct export markets for Norwegian herring.

says Jan Eirik Johnsen, Business Development Manager, Insight and Pelagic, with the Norwegian Seafood Council. “The Covid-19 pandemic has led to increased demand for cheaper seafood products with a long shelf life, and this has boosted the consumption of herring in many markets. With quotas and catches on a par with 2019, this has resulted in an increased price for all herring products,

There has been a clear shift in exports to fillet products.

Jan Eirik Johnsen added “At the end of the third quarter of 2019, the export of fillet accounted for 36 per cent of the volume, while for the same period in 2020, the share was 44 per cent”,

In September, the good development for herring continues:

  • 18,200 tonnes of herring worth NOK 333 million were exported.
  • This represents an increase in the volume of 10 per cent.
  • Export value increased by NOK 118 million, or 55 per cent, compared with September 2019.

Increased value for mackerel

  • Norway exported 135,800 tonnes of mackerel worth NOK 2.4 billion in the first nine months of the year.
  • There is an increase in the volume of 27 per cent.
  • The value increased by NOK 521 million, or 28 per cent, compared with the same period last year.
  • China, South Korea and Japan have been the largest markets for Norwegian mackerel.

Jan Eirik Johnsen says “Despite an increase in bilateral quotas of 31 per cent, the price of mackerel has not fallen. The increased demand for cheaper seafood products with a long shelf life in connection with the Covid-19 pandemic has also led to increased demand for mackerel.”

Asia is the most important market for Norwegian mackerel. So far this year, 77,000 tonnes have been exported to Asia, which is an increase of 2 per cent compared to the same period in 2019.

Strong growth in African markets

NSC’s Business Development Manager, Insight and Pelagic, Jan Eirik Johnsen said “Mackerel exports to Africa have increased so far this year by more than 350 per cent, from 3,900 tonnes in 2019 to almost 18,000 tonnes in 2020, which is mainly due to increased landings of trawled mackerel from foreign boats during the earlier part of this year,”

In September, there was a reduction in both volume and value for mackerel exports, compared with the same month last year:

  • 5,700 tonnes of mackerel worth NOK 94 million were exported.
  • There is a reduction in the export volume of 44 per cent.

The value fell by NOK 89 million, or 49 per cent, compared with September last year.

Reduction for king crab

  • Norway exported 1,400 tonnes of king crab worth NOK 463 million in the first nine months of the year.
  • This represents a reduction in the volume of 12 per cent.
  • The export value fell by NOK 41 million, or 8 per cent, compared with the same period last year.
  • South Korea, the Netherlands and Japan have been the largest recipients of Norwegian king crab.

“Lower demand as a result of the corona crisis has led to a significant reduction in exports of, especially frozen king crab in our most important markets in Europe and Japan. Increased demand in the autumn has, however, led to both higher catches and exports in August and September”, says Josefine Voraa, Manager for Shellfish with the Norwegian Seafood Council,.

September resulted in an increase in both volume and value for king crab exports, compared to the same period in 2019:

  • 250 tonnes of king crab worth NOK 78 million were exported.
  • Exports have increased in volume by 49 per cent.
  • Export value increased by NOK 19 million, or 31 per cent, compared with September 2019.

Challenges for prawn exports

  • 8,700 tonnes of prawn worth NOK 667 million were exported in the first nine months of the year.
  • Prawn, export volume decreased by 29 per cent.
  • The export value fell by NOK 154 million, or 19 per cent, compared with the same period last year.
  • Sweden, the Netherlands and Finland have been the largest markets for Norwegian prawn.

“The loss of the restaurant segment as a result of the pandemic has also affected prawn exports. Since April, volumes have been significant during last year. At the same time, there has been a positive development in export volumes in recent months, and especially to Sweden, says Josefine Voraa, Manager for Shellfish with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Growth in Sweden

Exports of frozen peeled prawn in large packages to Sweden experienced significant growth in September with an increase of as much as 49 per cent.

“This is seen in connection with the contraction of the Swedish restaurant market, which experienced a sharp decline during the corona outbreak this spring”, says Sigmund Bjørgo the Norwegian Seafood Council’s fisheries envoy to Sweden.

  • In September, there was a decrease in both volume and value for prawn exports, compared with 2019:
  • In September, 1,600 tonnes of prawn worth NOK 98 million were exported.
  • This is a reduction in the volume of 50 per cent.
  • The export value fell by NOK 38 million, or 27 per cent, compared with September last year.

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