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Photo: Norwegian Seafood Council
Photo: Norwegian Seafood Council

Press release -

A record start for seafood exports in 2022

Norway exported seafood worth NOK 10.3 billion in January. An increase of NOK 2.1 billion, or 26 per cent, compared with January last year.

"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", says Renate Larsen, CEO of the Norwegian Seafood Council.

In January, the total volume of exported seafood fell by 17 per cent, compared with the same month in 2021.

A decline for wild-caught seafood

"There was a clear difference in exports in January. While fish from aquaculture had a value growth of 42 per cent, 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", says Renate Larsen.

Growth for salmon in both the east and west

Nevertheless, salmon was the engine for seafood exports in January.

"Salmon consolidated its strong position and accounted for 70 per cent 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", says Renate Larsen.

A good start for cod

In January, Norway exported 718 tonnes of fresh cod worth NOK 47 million. An increase in value of 82 per cent compared with the same month last year.

"The cod season is always a big highlight. This fantastic product hits sustainability, taste, consistency well and has a unique history that we are very proud to convey in the markets", says Renate Larsen.

The largest growth in seafood exports this time came from outside the EU. While this market in January 2021 accounted for 58 per cent of the export value, it had fallen to 54 per cent in the same month this year.

A record month for salmon

  • 96,500 tonnes of salmon worth NOK 7.2 billion were exported in January.
  • Export volume increased by 2 per cent.
  • Export value increased by NOK 2.1 billion, or 41 per cent, compared with January last year.
  • France, Poland, and the USA were the largest markets for Norwegian salmon in January.

The share of salmon exports to the EU fell from 67 per cent in January last year to 60 per cent this year.

"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", says Paul T. Aandahl, Seafood Analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

France is back on top

France is again the largest export market for Norwegian salmon, after being in second place since December 2017. France was also the most significant growth market for salmon in January, with an export value of NOK 262 million.

"Even though restaurants opened last summer, the salmon is consumed both outdoors and at home. Sales are often high around Christmas, but January was also a solid month this year. Norwegian salmon has strengthened its position in France. French consumers want to eat healthily, well and sustainably, which the Norwegian salmon responds well to", says Trine Horne, the Norwegian Seafood Council's envoy to France.

Better logistics to the United States

In January, the United States was the next largest growth market for salmon, increasing NOK 192 million, or 49 per cent, to NOK 583 million. The increase in exports for fresh whole salmon was particularly strong.

"We had expected January to be a good month, but these are great numbers. The nice increase in exports of whole fresh salmon is primarily because more restaurants have reopened, at the same time as air transport has opened significantly," says Anne-Kristine Øen, the Norwegian Seafood Council's envoy to the USA.

Making more salmon at home

In the case of fresh fillets, the volume increased from 4,000 tonnes last year to 5,000 tonnes this year. Frozen fillets ended at about 1,300 tonnes, the same as in January last year.

"Fresh and frozen fillets are used primarily in the home, and this segment has increased significantly compared to before the corona pandemic. This results from consumers becoming better at cooking salmon at home when they have been exposed to it", says Anne-Kristine Øen.

Big increase for trout

  • 4,400 tonnes of trout worth NOK 338 million were exported in January.
  • Export volume increased by 16 per cent.
  • Export value increased by NOK 123 million, or 57 per cent, compared with January last year.
  • The USA, Thailand and Japan were the largest markets for Norwegian trout in January.

Like salmon, trout also increased their market share outside Europe.

"Thailand was the largest growth market in January with an increase of 157 per cent, to NOK 44 million. This is connected to increased sales in traditional grocery stores, restaurants and various online platforms", says Paul T. Aandahl, Seafood Analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Growth for fresh cod

  • Norway exported 4,800 tonnes of fresh cod, including fillets worth 260 million.
  • The volume increased by 23 per cent.
  • Export value increased by NOK 79 million, or 44 per cent, compared with January last year.
  • Denmark, Sweden, and Spain were the largest markets for fresh cod from Norway in January.

In January, the export price for fresh whole cod was as much as NOK 50 per kg. The second highest ever in a single month.

Increased volume to Spain

"The transit market Denmark is, as usual, the largest, and most exports goes further on to other markets. More than 300 tonnes of fresh whole cod went to Spain in January, which is the highest volume in a January month since 2014", says Eivind Hestvik Brækkan, Marine Analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Most of the volume to Spain, over 200 tonnes, was farmed cod. 557 tonnes of fresh whole farmed cod were exported in January, with the largest volumes to Spain, Denmark and Poland.

Good January for cod

  • Norway exported 718 tonnes of fresh cod worth NOK 47 million in January.
  • Export volume increased by 61 per cent.
  • Export value increased by NOK 21 million, or 82 per cent, compared with January last year.
  • Denmark, Sweden, and Spain were the largest markets for fresh cod from Norway in January.

The export price for fresh cod is the highest ever in a single month, with prices as high as NOK 66 per kg. Spain increased its volume sharply from last year and imported over 80 tonnes of cod in January.

"The cod season has had an excellent start in Spain, and we get feedback from customers about good sizes and very high quality of this year's cod", says Bjørn-Erik Stabell, the Norwegian Seafood Council's envoy to Spain.

The best month ever for frozen cod

  • Norway exported 11,800 tonnes of frozen cod worth NOK 482 million in January.
  • An increase in volume of 70 per cent.
  • Export value increased by NOK 221 million, or 84 per cent, compared with January last year.
  • China, the United Kingdom, and the United States were the largest markets for frozen cod from Norway in January.

"This is the highest export value ever in a single month, almost 100 million higher than the previous record month, which was in January 2019”, says Eivind Hestvik Brækkan, Marine Analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Record for saithe clipfish

  • Norway exported 8,100 tonnes of clip fish worth NOK 396 million in January.
  • A decrease in export volume of 15 per cent.
  • Export value fell by NOK 31 million, or 7 per cent, compared with January last year.
  • Brazil, the Dominican Republic and Portugal were the largest markets for Norwegian clip fish in January.

Prices for clip fish of both cod and saithe continue the strong development from the end of last year. Norway exported a clip fish of saithe for NOK 202 million, a new export record.

High prices

"The export price for cod clip fish has only been higher as the krone was very weak at the beginning of the pandemic in April and May 2020. The export price of saithe clip fish is also at record levels at NOK 39 per kg. Only one krone lower than the highest export price ever, in January 2015", says Eivind Hestvik Brækkan, Marine Analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Value-added for salted fish

  • Norway exported 1,300 tonnes of salted fish worth NOK 63 million in January.
  • Export volume is unchanged.
  • Export value increased by NOK 4 million, or 6 per cent, compared with January last year.
  • In January, Portugal, Greece, and Canada were the largest markets for Norwegian salted fish.
  • These figures represent the highest export value in a January month since 2008.

Decline for stockfish

  • Norway exported 328 tonnes of stockfish worth NOK 63 million in January.
  • A decrease in volume of 38 per cent.
  • The export value fell by NOK 39 million, or 38 per cent, compared with January last year.
  • In January, Italy, the USA, and Nigeria were the largest markets for Norwegian stockfish.

"The export price for whole stockfish of cod was higher than in some of last year's months, and over NOK 200 per kg for the first time since January last year", says Eivind Hestvik Brækkan, Marine Analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Low catches resulted in lower herring exports

  • Norway exported 19,200 tonnes of herring worth NOK 251 million in January.
  • Export volume fell by 46 per cent.
  • The export value fell by NOK 99 million, or 28 per cent, compared with January last year.
  • Poland, Lithuania, and Germany were the largest markets for Norwegian herring in January.

Lousy weather, purse seine boats engaged in capelin fishing in Iceland, and a lower quota for Norwegian spring-spawning herring are the main reasons herring catches in January this year are significantly lower than usual.

Bigger herring and higher prices

The reduced catches have a direct effect on decreasing exports. In January 2021, large quantities of smaller herring were caught. These lower-priced herrings were in great demand in West Africa. This year the herring are larger, and the prices are higher. This means that the European markets take the most", says Jan Eirik Johnsen, Manager for Pelagic Species with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Good market demand

Many customers do not want the purchased volume delivered immediately but distributed throughout the year, resulting in reduced exports in January for herring.

"In many markets, good demand is reported simultaneously, and especially for large herring that is in short supply. The prices of all the large herring products increased in January this year compared with the same period last year", says Jan Eirik Johnsen, Manager for Pelagic Species with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Lower mackerel exports

  • Norway exported 25,200 tonnes of mackerel worth NOK 464 million in January.
  • A decrease in volume of 39 per cent.
  • The export value fell by NOK 164 million, or 26 per cent, compared with January last year.
  • South Korea, China and Japan were the largest markets for Norwegian mackerel in January.

Like herring, mackerel exports are affected by supply.

"Last year, large volumes were landed in weeks 1 and 2, while the volumes this year only came in weeks 3 and 4. This also affects exports. Bad weather affected the mackerel fishery in the first weeks. In addition, the quotas are expected to be reduced, compared with last year, says Jan Eirik Johnsen, Manager for Pelagic Species with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

High level of exports

Mackerel exports are still at a high level compared to all years, except for last year's January, which set an export record. The export value in January 2022 is the second-highest recorded.

"There is good demand in the markets, especially in the Asian markets, which took 67 per cent of the mackerel exported in January. Prices are affected by an expectation of supply constraints, and are significantly above the same period last year (average price of NOK 18.40 per kg against NOK 15.06 per kg)", says Jan Eirik Johnsen, Manager for Pelagic Species with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Halved export volume for king crab

  • Norway exported 132 tonnes of king crab worth NOK 77 million in January.
  • A decrease in volume of 55 per cent.
  • Export value fell by NOK 20 million, or 20 per cent, compared with January last year.
  • The USA, South Korea and Denmark were the largest markets for Norwegian king crab in January.

"2022 starts where 2021 ended with high raw material prices and export prices for Norwegian king crab. However, bad weather, closed roads and challenging logistics to overseas markets led to the export volume being halved in January for both frozen and live king crab", says Josefine Voraa, Manager for Shellfish with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Value growth for prawn

  • 909 tonnes of prawn worth NOK 69 million were exported in January.
  • An increase in export volume of 3 per cent.
  • Export value increased by NOK 3 million, or 4 per cent, compared with January last year.
  • The UK, Sweden and Finland were the largest markets for Norwegian prawn in January.

The export picture for prawn in the first month of the year is mixed.

"For frozen peeled prawn, which accounts for 83 per cent of the total export volume, there was both an increase in value and volume of 17 per cent and 12 per cent, respectively. To the UK, growth continues with a solid volume increase in January, while exports to Sweden and Finland declined”, says Josefine Voraa, Manager for Shellfish with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Bad weather resulted in lower export volume

A lot of bad weather from south to north has also contributed to lower volumes of fresh shrimp and shrimp being exported to Sweden in January this year, compared to last year. Compared with January last year, shrimp exports to Sweden have decreased by 22 per cent.

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The Norwegian Seafood Council works with the Norwegian fisheries and aquaculture industries to develop markets for Norwegian seafood through local market intelligence, market development and reputational risk management. The Seafood Council is headquartered in Tromsø and maintains local representatives in twelve of Norway's most important international markets. The Norwegian seafood industry finances the activities of the Norwegian Seafood Council via a tariff on all Norwegian seafood exports.

The Norwegian Seafood Council is a public company owned by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries.

Press contacts

Martin Skaug

Martin Skaug

Press contact Communications director +47 915 59 902
Dag Sørli

Dag Sørli

Press contact PR Manager PR & Kommunikasjon +47 970 16 311

Proudly representing Seafood from Norway

The Norwegian Seafood Council works with the Norwegian fisheries and aquaculture industries to develop markets for Norwegian seafood through local market intelligence, market development and reputational risk management. The Seafood Council is headquartered in Tromsø and maintains local representatives in twelve of Norway's most important international markets. The Norwegian seafood industry finances the activities of the Norwegian Seafood Council via a tariff on all Norwegian seafood exports. The Norwegian Seafood Council is a public company owned by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries.

Norwegian Seafood Council
Stortorget 1
9008 Tromsø
Norway