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Photo: Norwegian Seafood Council
Photo: Norwegian Seafood Council

Press release -

Norwegian seafood exports exceed NOK 70 billion in the first half of the year

The export value of Norwegian seafood has never been higher in the first half of the year than in 2022. In the first six months of the year, Norway exported seafood worth NOK 70.1 billion. This is a value growth of 31 per cent, or NOK 16.4 billion, compared with the first half of last year.

At the same time, June was the strongest June ever, with an export value of NOK 12.3 billion. This is an increase of 35 per cent, or NOK 3.2 billion, compared with the same month last year.

Exceeds exports for whole of 2015

“Norwegian seafood exports have left behind a historically good first half year. Rising global food prices, lower raw material supply and strong growth in demand are the main reasons for this record. After just six months, we have exceeded the export value for the whole of 2015”, says Børge Grønbech, acting CEO of the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Impressive statistics

“I am delighted that the seafood industries are recording another export record for the first half of the year. Over NOK 70 billion in just six months is a very impressive result. This underscores how important the sector is for value creation, job security and coastal economic activity”, says Bjørnar Skjæran (Labor), Minister of Fisheries and Marine Affairs.

He points out that growth is particularly driven by high international prices.

The importance of long-term marketing work

“This is due to complex conditions. I am glad that Norwegian seafood has both products and a brand that is in high demand internationally, even in these turbulent times. Nevertheless, we must be prepared for changing prices in the future. Active and long-term marketing work will therefore be important in the time ahead. The government has very high ambitions for the seafood industry. Together with the industry, we will continue to work for further growth in exports and set new records”, says Bjørnar Skjæran.

A fantastic year for Norwegian salmon

Salmon still accounts for the largest share of export value, but also species such as trout, cod, saithe and haddock have contributed to a record-breaking six months.

“Measured in export value, 2022 has so far been a fantastic year for Norwegian salmon. Lower production volumes and increasing demand have resulted in record high prices, which is a significant contribution to the export record in the first half of the year”, says Børge Grønbech.

Extra responsibility for Norway as a seafood nation

The first half of the year has seen major and drastic changes in the world community, with both war in Ukraine and reopening after the corona pandemic.

“In addition to the horrific suffering, the war has affected global trade and helped create a food crisis. In such times, Norway as a seafood nation has an extra responsibility to ensure the world a sufficient supply of sustainable and healthy seafood”, says Børge Grønbech

Challenging times despite record exports

Despite the strong value development of seafood exports in the first half of the year, the Norwegian Seafood Council´s CEO points to some challenges that may slow down growth going forward:

  • High food inflation
  • Weakened purchasing power
  • Challenging logistics
  • Increased costs for seafood players
  • Lower supply of important species such as salmon, cod, mackerel and herring

“Even though Norwegian seafood has a very strong global position and exports are constantly setting new records, it is easy to forget that the Norwegian seafood industry is also affected by high inflation and increasing production costs. For many players, the first half of the year has therefore been demanding”, Grønbech emphasizes.

Strong value growth for salmon

  • Norway exported 534,500 tonnes of salmon exported to a value of NOK 48.4 billion in the first half of the year.
  • The export volume fell by 5 per cent compared with the first half of last year.
  • The export value increased by NOK 13.2 billion, or 37 per cent, compared with the first half of last year.
  • The average price for fresh whole salmon increased from NOK 58.29 per kg to NOK 87.37 per kg.
  • Poland, France and the USA were the largest recipients of salmon from Norway in the first half of the year.

Increasing demand and falling production

“Both record price and record value come as a result of a combination of demand growth and reduced production of Atlantic salmon globally. From a historical perspective, we see that years without growth in volume globally give strong price growth. This is the fourth time since 2010 that the price has risen, so it is a pattern we see from time to time”, says Paul T. Aandahl, Seafood Analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

At the same time as the supply volume is decreasing, demand is increasing. This is partly due to increased sales to the hotel and restaurant sector.

Closed airspace has resulted in export declines

“The war in Ukraine has led to reduced exports to Ukraine and Belarus. For the export of fresh salmon to Asia, closed Russian airspace has had a great effect. In particular, this has affected exports to countries such as South Korea and Japan. In total, exports of fresh salmon to these countries have fallen by 18 and 20 per cent, respectively, measured in volume”, says Aandahl.

The price increase has also led to a distortion in the flow of goods from countries where salmon largely go for smoking before further export. The export volume to Poland, for example, has fallen by 18 per cent, the marine analyst emphasizes.

Strong growth to France

“The largest increase in value has been to France and Italy. To France, the value increased by 50 per cent, while the export volume increased by 7 per cent. Exports to Italy increased by 62 per cent in value, while volume increased by 3 per cent”, says Paul T. Aandahl.

Salmon exports in June are the best single month ever measured in value. The previous record was from December 2021:

  • 87,800 tonnes of salmon were exported at a value of NOK 8.8 billion.
  • This represents a decrease in volume of 11 per cent.
  • The value increased by NOK 2.6 billion, or 41 per cent, compared with June last year.

A good six months for trout

  • Norway exported 23,800 tonnes of trout for NOK 2.1 billion in the first half of the year.
  • The export volume fell by 5 per cent.
  • Export value increased by NOK 562 million, or 35 per cent, compared with the first half of last year.
  • The USA, Thailand and Japan were the largest markets for Norwegian trout in the first half of the year.

Trout is the third-largest species so far this year, measured in export value. It is only beaten by salmon and cod.

Strong growth to Thailand and USA

“Trout has seen about the same change in export value as salmon. The trout price tends to follow salmon prices quite closely. The average export price for fresh whole trout was NOK 89.65 per kg, compared with NOK 87.38 per kg for salmon. Belarus and Ukraine are the markets that have declined the most in value so far this year, while Thailand and the USA are the markets that have had the greatest growth, says Paul T. Aandahl, Seafood Analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

June saw a fall in the export volume of trout, but the export value rose sharply:

  • 4,700 tonnes of trout worth NOK 476 million were exported in June.
  • Export volume fell by 7 per cent.
  • The value of trout exports increased by NOK 146 million, or 44 per cent, compared with June last year.

Exports of fresh cod exceeded NOK 2 billion

  • Norway exported 41,700 tonnes of fresh cod worth NOK 2 billion in the first half of the year.
  • There is a decrease in volume of 14 per cent.
  • The value increased by NOK 240 million, or 14 per cent, compared with the first half of last yea
  • Denmark, the Netherlands and Poland were the largest recipients of fresh cod from Norway in the first half of the year.

Growth in exports to Portugal and Germany

“While most of the export volume to our three largest destination countries is further transported to other markets, we see that exports to the consumer markets Germany and Portugal stand out with record high export volumes in the first half of the year. Norway exported 2,500 and 2,300 tonnes of fresh cod to Germany and Portugal in the first half of the year, respectively, with export values of NOK 110 and 102 million”, says Eivind Hestvik Brækkan, Seafood Analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Regarding the development in June, the export figures show a decrease in volume, but an increase in value:

  • 3,300 tonnes of fresh cod worth NOK 156 million were exported.
  • There is a decrease in export volume of 3 per cent.
  • The value of exports increased by NOK 28 million, or 21 per cent, compared with June last year.

Strong half-year for frozen cod

  • Norway exported 50,600 tonnes of frozen cod worth NOK 2.5 billion in the first half of the year.
  • There is an increase in export volume of 14 percent.
  • Export value increased by NOK 733 million, or 43 per cent, compared with the first half of last year.
  • China, the United Kingdom and the United States were the largest recipients of frozen cod in the first half of the year.

The export value of frozen cod increased by NOK 169 million, or 82 per cent, compared with June last year.

“The export volume to the USA continues to grow, and in the first half of the year the country was Norway's third largest destination country for frozen cod. The export volume of frozen whole cod increased from 170 to 3,100 tonnes, while frozen fillets decreased somewhat, from 630 to 460 tonnes”, says Eivind Hestvik Brækkan, Seafood Analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Growing exports to the USA

The United States' own cod quotas have been declining for a number of years. The country has also imposed a total ban on imports of seafood from Russia.

“This contributes to a sharp increase in the export of cod from Norway to the USA. In addition, a smaller volume of frozen cod has arrived from China to the USA compared with before the corona pandemic”, says Anne-Kristine Øen, the Norwegian Seafood Council's envoy to the USA.

June was also a month of growth in both volume and value for frozen cod exports:

  • 6,500 tonnes of frozen cod worth NOK 372 million were exported.
  • There is an increase in export volume of 30 per cent.
  • Export value increased by NOK 169 million, or 82 per cent, compared with June last year.

Value growth for clipfish

  • Norway exported 40,300 tonnes of clipfish worth NOK 2.3 billion in the first half of the year.
  • There is a decrease in volume of 2 per cent.
  • The value increased by NOK 570 million, or 32 per cent, compared with the first half of last year.
  • Portugal, Brazil, and the Dominican Republic were the most important markets for Norwegian clipfish in the first half of the year.

In our largest clipfish market Portugal, consumption in the grocery trade is lower than last year, but this is as expected since more people are eating their clipfish in restaurants this year.

Improved tourism to Portugal

“Tourism in Portugal is back in full force, with more than six million overnight stays in May, an increase of over 200 per cent from last year. The increase in tourism contributes to increased demand for clipfish. However, the country is still characterized by high inflation and economic uncertainty, says Eivind Hestvik Brækkan, Seafood Analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

In the first half of the year, there were also record high export volumes for clipfish to Congo-Brazzaville, Jamaica and Mexico.

In June, there was growth in both export volume and value for clipfish:

  • 6,900 tonnes of clipfish worth NOK 451 million were exported.
  • This represents an 11 per cent increase in volume.
  • Export value increased by NOK 149 million, or 49 per cent, compared with June last year.

A good half-year for salted fish

  • Norway exported 21,200 tonnes of salted fish worth NOK 1.4 billion in the first half of the year.
  • This is an increase in the volume of 35 per cent.
  • Export value increased by NOK 682 million, or 95 per cent, compared with the first half of last year.
  • Portugal, Greece and Spain were the most important markets for Norwegian salted fish in the first half of the year.

Measured in value, as much as 30 per cent of all Norwegian cod exports went to Portugal in the first half of the year, and we must go back to 2015 to find a higher Portuguese share of total exports.

“Like clipfish, the export volume for salted fish to our largest market, Portugal, also increased sharply. As many as 15,400 tonnes of salted fish were exported to Portugal in the first half of the year, an increase of 4,800 tonnes, or 46 per cent, from last year. The value increased by as much as 118 per cent, to a total of NOK 1.1 billion”, says Eivind Hestvik Brækkan, Seafood Analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Growth in June

This trend is also reflected in the export figures for salted fish in June:

  • 3,100 tonnes of salted fish worth NOK 206 million were exported.
  • There is an increase in export volume of 16 per cent.
  • Export value increased by NOK 84 million, or 68 per cent, compared with June last year.

Stable for stockfish exports

  • Norway exported 1,700 tonnes of stockfish worth NOK 301 million in the first half of the year.
  • There is a decrease in export volume of 6 percent.
  • Export value remains at the same level as last year.
  • Italy, USA and Nigeria were our most important markets for stockfish in the first half of the year.

In June, there was a slight increase in value for stockfish:

  • 181 tonnes of stockfish worth NOK 31 million were exported.
  • Export volume increased by 7 per cent.
  • Export value increased by NOK 8 million, or 33 per cent compared with June last year.

Decline for herring

  • Norway exported 142,200 tonnes of herring worth NOK 1.8 billion in the first half of the year.
  • The volume fell by 15 per cent.
  • The value fell by NOK 67 million, or 4 per cent, compared with the first half of last year.
  • Poland, Egypt and Lithuania were the most important markets for Norwegian herring in the first half of the year.

The herring market is largely supply-controlled, and it is therefore important to look at the supply when exports are to be assessed.

“For Norwegian spring-spawning herring (NVG), the quota has been reduced by 8 per cent this year compared with 2021. However, landings of herring in the first half of the year have been reduced by 18 per cent compared with the same period last year. The decline is due to challenging fishing conditions with a lot of bad weather and that parts of the fleet were busy with capelin fishing in Iceland at the same time as the herring fishing was going on”, says Jan Eirik Johnsen, Manager for Pelagic Species with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Early start to the fishing season

The war in Ukraine has affected the export of herring both directly to Ukraine, but also to Lithuania, which is a transit market for exports to several markets in Eastern Europe.

“With regard to North Sea herring, the quota was set at 21 per cent compared with 2021. 99,000 tonnes have been landed here, compared with 72,000 tonnes last year, an increase of 38 per cent. Due to a lack of access to fishing in British waters and an increased quota, the North Sea herring season started earlier than usual. It has produced a lot of small herring with variable quality, which has led to a larger share going to the production of fishmeal and fish oil”, says Jan Eirik Johnsen.

Good demand in the market

In the first half of last year, 18,000 tonnes went to flour and oil, while in the same period this year, the figure was 50,000 tonnes.

“This means that even though the landings of North Sea herring have been significantly larger than last year, there has not been much more available for export”, says Jan Eirik Johnsen.

General good demand in the markets, less supply and a shortage of individual products have sent prices upwards. Prices have increased for all the most important herring products compared with the first half of last year.

Herring is an inexpensive protein

“The price increase means that there is beginning to be resistance in individual markets for some products, but at the same time the general price increase for food means that herring is still a reasonably affordable source of protein in the marketplace”, says Jan Eirik Johnsen.

In June, there was a decline in both export volume and value for herring:

  • 17,000 tonnes of herring worth NOK 237 million were exported.
  • There is a decrease in export volume of 40 per cent.
  • Export value fell by NOK 74 million, or 24 per cent, compared with June last year.

Fall in export value of mackerel

  • Norway exported 84,200 tonnes of mackerel worth NOK 1.6 billion in the first half of the year.
  • There is a decrease in export volume of 28 per cent.
  • Export value fell by NOK 188 million, or 10 per cent, compared with the first half of last year.
  • South Korea, China and Japan were the largest markets for Norwegian mackerel in the first half of the year.

Like herring, mackerel exports are largely supply-controlled. In addition, the fishing and export season starts in one year and ends in the next. This presents some challenges when comparing half-year figures.

Impact of bad weather in January and February

“Lack of access to mackerel fishing in British waters means that Norwegian boats do not fish for mackerel in January and February as they did before. Thus, only foreign boats deliver mackerel at the beginning of the year. As for the herring fishery, the mackerel fishery was affected by bad weather, and this resulted in a lower volume being landed”, says Jan Eirik Johnsen, Manager for Pelagic Species with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

If we compare the first half of this year with the same period in 2021, just 56,000 tonnes were fished, compared with 75,000 tonnes a year earlier. A decrease of 25 per cent.

Strong demand

“At the same time, demand for Norwegian mackerel is strong in the markets. Scarce supply and strong demand have raised prices significantly. The average price of frozen mackerel under 600 grams, which accounted for 93 per cent of exports, was NOK 18.41 per kg in the first half of this year, compared with NOK 14.82 per kg in the same period last year, an increase of 24 per cent”, says Johnsen.

Asia is the most important destination for Norwegian mackerel, accounting for 67 per cent of exports, in the first half of the year.

Growth in China and Thailand

“The total decline in mackerel exports results in a decline in most markets also in Asia, but China and Thailand stand out with growth also in this period. Growth is particularly strong in Thailand, where exports increased by 69 per cent in the first half of the year. Removal of coronary restrictions and thus increased restaurant consumption is an important explanation for the growth”, says Jan Eirik Johnsen.

In June, there was a fall in export volume, but growth in value:

  • 7,900 tonnes of mackerel worth NOK 168 million were exported.
  • There is a reduction in export volume of 13 per cent.
  • Export value increased by NOK 22 million, or 15 per cent, compared with June last year.

A decline in king crab exports

  • Norway exported 609 tonnes of king crab worth NOK 388 million in the first half of the year.
  • This represents a decrease in export volume of 46 per cent.
  • Export value fell by 35 million or 8 per cent, compared with the first half of last year.
  • The United States, the Netherlands and South Korea were the largest recipients of king crab in the first half of the year.

Compared with a very strong first half of last year, exports of both live and frozen king crab have been reduced by 46 per cent, but high export prices compared with last year mean that the export value has only been reduced by 8 per cent.

Challenging logistics to Asia

“Live seafood exports have been characterized by corona restrictions and increased infection rates in Asia, challenging logistics and increased competition for live king crab in the Asian markets. As a result, exports of live king crab to Asia have declined by 60 per cent in terms of export value and 74 per cent in export volume”, says Josefine Voraa, Manager for Shellfish with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Strong growth to North America

To North America, on the other hand, the export value has increased by 343 per cent and export volume by 166 per cent as a result of high demand for live king crab in the restaurant segment.

“For frozen king crab, there has been a decline in direct exports to the two major consumer markets USA and Japan and an increase to the transit markets Netherlands and Denmark. High export prices for frozen compared with the first half of last year mean that the export value is only down two percent compared to last year”, says Josefine Voraa.

June also shows the same trend, with a decline in both export volume and value:

  • 95 tonnes of king crab worth NOK 65 million were exported.
  • There is a decrease in export volume of 54 per cent.
  • Export value fell by NOK 19 million, or 23 per cent, compared with June last year.

Snow crab growth has stopped

  • Norway exported 3,000 tonnes of snow crab worth NOK 548 million in the first half of the year.
  • There is a decrease in export volume of 14 per cent.
  • Export value fell by NOK 45 million, or 8 per cent, compared with the first half of last year.
  • Denmark, Japan and the USA were the largest recipients of snow crab in the first half of the year.

Good fishing and increased activity in snow crab fishing have led to increased landings and a record-breaking end to the season.

Adjusted demand

“A challenging market situation in the last quarter has led to a decline in exports compared with the first half of last year. In the first quarter, the export price averaged NOK 208 per kg, while in the second quarter it was reduced to NOK 171 per kg. It testifies to a changed demand situation for snow crabs globally”, says Josefine Voraa, Manager for Shellfish with the Norwegian Seafood Council,.

Last year, the US market could not get enough snow crab, but this year the market has been characterized by lower demand, larger inventories and an increase in quotas in Canada which has led to a decline in direct exports to the US of 66 per cent in volume and 67 per cent in value.

A distorted picture for exports

“The market situation in the USA has led to a shift in exports from the US market to Asia and the transit market in the Netherlands. To Asia, despite the corona situation and increased competition, there has been greater demand for frozen snow crab. In the first half of the year, the export value to the Asian markets increased by 108 per cent, or NOK 111 million”, says Josefine Voraa.

June 2022 was also weaker than the same month last year:

  • 506 tonnes of snow crab worth NOK 77 million were exported.
  • There is a reduction in export volume of 42 per cent.
  • Export value fell by NOK 92 million, or 54 per cent, compared with June last year.

Growth in prawn exports

  • 8,000 tonnes of prawn worth NOK 503 million were exported in the first half of the year.
  • For prawn, there was an increase in export volume of 12 per cent.
  • Export value increased by NOK 44 million, or 10 per cent, compared with the first half of last year.
  • The largest recipients were Sweden, the United Kingdom and Iceland.

Exports of prawn have shown a very good development in the first half of the year. A good start to the prawn fishery in the Barents Sea and a normalization of the restaurant markets in our most important prawn markets the United Kingdom, Sweden and Finland have led to an increase in exports of frozen peeled prawn of 2 per cent in export volume and 10 per cent in export value.

Restaurant openings have contributed positively

“Especially towards the United Kingdom, there has been an increase in exports. The export price is NOK 76 per kg, which is higher than last year, but still not quite on a par with 2019 when the export price was NOK 86 per kg. The opening of the restaurants and more people back in the offices have contributed positively to the demand in the British market”, says Josefine Voraa, Manager for Shellfish with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

In addition to the positive development for frozen peeled prawn, there has been an increase in the export of prawn to the processing sector in Iceland. The increase in the first half of this year is 860 tonnes compared to 2021.

Also in June, there was growth in both export volume and value:

  • In June, 2,000 tonnes of prawn worth NOK 118 million were exported.
  • There is an increase in export volume of 13 per cent.
  • Export value increased by NOK 21 million, or 22 per cent, compared with June last year.

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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

Paul T. Aandahl

Paul T. Aandahl

Seafood Analyst +47 975 04 124
Dag Sørli

Dag Sørli

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

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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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