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Photo: Norwegian Seafood Council
Photo: Norwegian Seafood Council

Press release -

Historically high Norwegian seafood exports in May

Norway exported seafood worth NOK 12.4 billion in May. This is an increase of NOK 4.1 billion, or 49 per cent, compared with May last year.

- The strong global demand for Norwegian seafood gave an export value in May which is the second highest ever in a single month, only beaten by March this year. Increased export prices, primarily for salmon, but also for other species such as trout, cod, saithe, haddock and herring is the main reason for the growth, says Acting CEO of the Norwegian Seafood Council, Børge Grønbech.

Higher export value in 5 months than in the whole of 2012
The total export value up to and including May is NOK 57.8 billion, which is an increase of NOK 13.2 billion, or 30 per cent, compared with the same period last year.

- To put it in perspective: Throughout 2012, Norwegian seafood exports amounted to NOK 52.1 billion. We have thus passed this value already after five months in 2022. It shows what an export adventure Norwegian seafood has been in the last 10 years, says Grønbech.

High global food inflation
At the same time, he emphasizes that the war in Ukraine is casting a gloomy shadow over the strong export growth this year.

- There is no doubt that we live in demanding times. High global food inflation and a limited supply of important fish species from both Norway and other countries are some of the factors that are driving up prices, Børge Grønbech explains.

Challenging for the seafood industry
The Norwegian seafood industry is also observing that costs in connection with food production are rising.

- Both the processing industry, the aquaculture companies and the fleet link have noticed that everything from raw materials to fuel and electricity is increasing in price. An expected rise in interest rates and a fall in real wages in many important markets are also demanding factors. There is therefore uncertainty associated with future demand development, says Børge Grønbech.

The second highest export month for salmon ever

  • 84,800 tonnes of salmon worth NOK 8.6 billion were exported in May.
  • The value increased by NOK 2.7 billion, or 47 per cent, compared with May last year.
  • The export volume increased by 3 per cent.
  • Poland, Denmark and France were the largest markets for Norwegian salmon in May.

    - After four months in a row with reduced volume, we saw growth in May. Weak export volume over time and growth in demand have led to a strong price development, and in terms of value, May was the second-best ever for Norwegian salmon exports, says seafood analyst Paul T. Aandahl in the Norwegian Seafood Council.

    The United Kingdom was the market with the largest increase in export volume in May compared with the same month last year.

    Taking market share in the UK
    - Salmon is a popular dish among many Britons, and there is a very wide range of salmon products in the UK. We now see that there is significantly lower salmon production in Scotland. The Norwegian salmon has therefore taken larger market shares in the grocery trade, where most chains sell fresh fillets of both Norwegian and Scottish salmon, says the Norwegian Seafood Council's envoy to the United Kingdom, Hans Frode Kielland Asmyhr.

    Trout exports cross the magic line

    • 3,900 tonnes of trout worth NOK 397 million were exported in May.
    • Export value increased by NOK 125 million, or 46 per cent, compared with May last year.
    • Export volume fell by 8 per cent.
    • Thailand, the USA and Malaysia were the largest markets for Norwegian trout in May.

    - For the very first time, the export price for fresh whole trout has exceeded NOK 100 on average during a month. The record from April was broken with NOK 8.77 per kg and ended at NOK 102.05 per kg in May. The price of fresh whole trout was 3.56 kroner higher than for salmon in May, says Seafood Analyst Paul T. Aandahl with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

    Increase in export value for fresh cod

    • Norway exported 4,700 tonnes of fresh cod, including fillets, worth NOK 217 million in May.
    • The value increased by NOK 42 million, or 24 per cent, compared with May last year.
    • The volume fell by 3 per cent.
    • Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany were the largest markets for fresh cod from Norway in May.

      Slightly lower landings of fresh cod in May resulted in lower export volumes.

      Increased exports to Germany
      - As usual, most of the volume of fresh cod goes to Denmark for re-export to the large consumer markets. At the same time, direct exports to Germany continue to increase, something it has done every single month this year, says Seafood Analyst Eivind Hestvik Brækkan with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

      In May, 420 tonnes of fresh cod worth NOK 16 million were exported to Germany. This equates to a volume growth of 39 per cent, or 117 tonnes.

      Strong growth for frozen cod

      • Norway exported 8,500 tonnes of frozen cod worth NOK 453 million in May.
      • The value increased by NOK 216 million, or 91 per cent, compared with May last year.
      • Export volume increased by 39 per cent.
      • China, the United Kingdom and Portugal were the largest markets for frozen cod from Norway in May.

        The export price of frozen whole cod hit a record high for the third month in a row, and in May it passed NOK 50 per kg for the very first time.

        Export volume increased to China, UK and Portugal
        - There is a significant volume growth to China, Great Britain and Portugal compared to May last year. Here, the increase is 127, 43 and 238 per cent, respectively. While most of the volume of frozen cod to these markets is whole fish, 450 tonnes of frozen fillet have also gone to Portugal, which is a historically high volume, says Marine Analyst Eivind Hestvik Brækkan with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

        Historically high prices for clip fish

        • Norway exported 8,100 tonnes of clip fish worth NOK 553 million in May.
        • Export value increased by NOK 292 million, or 112 per cent, compared with May last year.
        • Export volume increased by 45 per cent.
        • Portugal, Brazil and Congo-Brazzaville were the largest markets for Norwegian clip fish in May.

          For clip fish of both cod and saithe, the export price has never been higher than in May, with prices of NOK 99 and NOK 47 per kg, respectively.

          Weakened Norwegian kroner
          - A weakened Norwegian krone against both the euro and the Brazilian real contributes to inflation measured in Norwegian kroner. It provides increased ability to pay for buyers in our most important markets, says Seafood Analyst Eivind Hestvik Brækkan with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

          • In May, the export volume of cod clip fish to Portugal increased by 75 per cent, to a total of 2,800 tonnes.
          • In Brazil, the volume of clip fish of both saithe and cod increased by 55 and 147 per cent, respectively, to 900 and 250 tonnes.

            Good development for the Dominican Republic
            -Another bright spot is the export of saithe clip fish to the Dominican Republic. After several months of decline in exports, the volume increases in May by as much as 131 per cent, to 1,100 tonnes. Very high export volumes towards the end of last year have probably resulted in full stocks for a period and thus lower export volumes at the beginning of 2022, says Brækkan.

            Growth for salted fish

            • Norway exported 5,200 tonnes of salted fish worth NOK 366 million in May.
            • The value increased by NOK 180 million, or 97 per cent, compared with May last year.
            • The volume increased by 32 per cent.
            • Portugal, Spain and Italy were the largest markets for Norwegian salted fish in May

            Also for salted whole cod, the export price reached a record high of NOK 73 per kg.

            Increase in exports to Spain and Portugal
            - The export value for salted fish has never been higher in May than this year. There is also a record high export value so far this year, of a total of NOK 1.2 billion in the first five months of the year, says Seafood Analyst Eivind Hestvik Brækkan with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

            Portugal increases its volume by 26 per cent, to a total of 4,300 tonnes in May. This gave an export value of NOK 317 million.

            - There is also significant growth for our second-largest market, Spain, with 45 per cent volume growth from May last year, to a total of 400 tonnes, says Brækkan.

            Few changes for stockfish

            • Norway exported 215 tonnes of stockfish worth NOK 35 million in May.
            • The value increased by NOK 878,000, or 3 per cent, compared with May last year.
            • Export volume fell by 6 per cent.
            • Italy, Nigeria and the USA were the largest markets for Norwegian stockfish in May.

              A good month for herring exports

              • Norway exported 16,100 tonnes of herring worth NOK 302 million in May.
              • The value increased by NOK 192 million, or 173 per cent, compared with May last year.
              • Export volume increased by 79 per cent.
              • Egypt and Poland and Lithuania were the largest markets for Norwegian herring in May.

                -May is the start-up month for North Sea herring fishing, and this year the fishing has been good. Usually, June is the main month for this fishing, but this year 60 per cent of the quota of 73,000 tonnes was taken in May, says Jan Eirik Johnsen, Manager of Pelagic Species with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

                NVG herring dominates
                However, it is not the North Sea herring that dominates exports in May. The NVG herring takes the prize here.

                - Whole frozen NVG herring is the largest product with 5,900 tonnes. Exports to Egypt alone accounted for 4,500 tonnes, says Jan Eirik Johnsen.

                Growth for herring
                At the same time, the increased North Sea herring catches affect exports. An important product of North Sea herring is soused herring. Here, the Netherlands is the most important export market. In May this year, 1,600 tonnes of frozen whole herring were exported there, compared with 450 tonnes in the same month last year.

                - As for many other species and products, herring achieves good prices in the markets. A weakening of the Norwegian krone and increased food prices give the herring a boost since it is a reasonable source of protein. In Germany, the consumption of herring is increasing again. In April, consumption was 3.3 per cent higher than the same month last year and 13 per cent higher than in April 2019, says Johnsen.

                Low season for mackerel

                • Norway exported 6,800 tonnes of mackerel worth NOK 137 million in May.
                • The value increased by NOK 8 million, or 6 per cent, compared with May last year.
                • There is a decrease in export volume of 12 per cent.
                • Vietnam, Thailand and South Korea were the largest markets for Norwegian mackerel in May.

                Mackerel exports are in the low season until the new fishing season starts. Strong demand in the markets and lower catches in 2022 will result in lower export volumes, but high prices.

                For whole frozen mackerel under 600 grams, the average price was NOK 18.45 per kg in May, an increase of 26 per cent compared with the same month last year.

                Good demand in Asia
                - The Asian markets dominate the mackerel export, and good demand is reported here. Many countries in the region have had coronary restrictions for longer than in Europe, and gradual removal of these has led to increased demand in the hotel, restaurant and canteen segment. In addition, several countries have had weak domestic catches, which has resulted in high demand for Norwegian products, says Jan Eirik Johnsen, Manager for Pelagic Species with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

                A decline for king crab

                • Norway exported 58 tonnes of king crab worth NOK 39 million in May.
                • The value fell by NOK 8 million, or 17 per cent, compared with May last year.
                • There is a decrease in volume of 51 per cent.
                • The USA, Spain and Turkey were the largest markets for Norwegian king crab in May.

                King crab exports continue to suffer from challenging logistics for live exports to Asia and lower demand for frozen king crab in the US and Japan than at the same time last year.

                High export price to USA
                - In Spain and Turkey, on the other hand, we see an increase in the demand for frozen king crab in May, says Josefine Voraa, Manager for Shellfish with the Norwegian Seafood Council,

                In May, 22 tonnes of live king crab were exported to the USA worth NOK 14.4 million. This is an increase of 233 per cent in volume and 432 per cent in value.

                - The export price of both live and frozen king crab remains at a high level compared with May last year. The growth in exports of live king crab to the USA also continues for the seventh month in a row, says Josefine Voraa.

                A weaker month for snow crab

                • Norway exported 619 tonnes of snow crab worth NOK 111 million in May.
                • The value fell by NOK 20 million, or 15 per cent, compared with May last year.
                • There is a reduction in volume of 20 per cent.
                • Japan, Denmark and the Netherlands were the largest markets for Norwegian snow crab in May.

                At the same time last year, the frozen snow crab could not come ashore fast enough before it was exported to the American market, but this year the situation is quite different.


                Large inventories and increased quotas
                - Slower sales, large inventories and increased quotas in Canada have led to a decline in direct exports to the US for the fourth month in a row, and an increase to the transit market in the Netherlands. Although Denmark is also a transit market for snow crab, exports went down there compared to May last year, says Josefine Voraa, Manager for Shellfish with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

                Asian growth continues
                Growth in Asia and the markets of Japan, China and South Korea also continued in May.

                - To the three markets, exports increased by 58 per cent in volume and 135 per cent in value compared with May last year. Together, they accounted for 51 per cent of the export value in May, Voraa observes.

                Growth for prawn exports

                • 2,500 tonnes of prawn worth NOK 117 million were exported in May.
                • The export value increased by NOK 39 million, or 49 per cent, compared with May last year.
                • There is an increase in volume of 50 per cent.
                • Iceland, Sweden and the United Kingdom were the largest markets for Norwegian prawn in May.

                Fishing in the Barents Sea is well underway, with increased landings compared to April and May last year.

                Best May exports for 14 years
                - This influences prawn exports, which increased by 50 per cent in May. In fact, we must go all the way back to 2008 to find a higher export volume in May, says Josefine Voraa, Manager for Shellfish with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

                The largest increase in volume is in exports of industrial prawn to Iceland, which in May increased by 88 per cent in volume and 104 per cent by value.

                Good month for frozen peeled prawn
                In terms of volume, industrial prawn make up the largest share of the export volume in May, but measured in value, exports of frozen, peeled prawn make up a larger share, with 41 per cent of the value. Exports of frozen peeled prawn show a positive development in May, with a volume increase of 29 per cent and 41 per cent in value, says Josefine Voraa.

                The United Kingdom and Sweden were the largest recipients with a total growth of NOK 26 million. Both in terms of volume and price, the two markets are approaching the levels seen in 2019.

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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.

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                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.

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