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Photo: NSC
Photo: NSC

Press release -

Norwegian seafood exports fall significantly in August

Norwegian seafood exports fell by 14 per cent in August. Seafood exports totalled NOK 7.3 billion. This is NOK 1.2 billion lower than in August 2019.

So far this year, seafood exports have amounted to NOK 68.2 billion. This is an increase of NOK 781 million or just over 1 per cent.

“The decline in export value in August is due to weakened demand and less traction from the weak Norwegian kroner exchange rate that we experienced earlier this year”, says Tom-Jørgen Gangsø, Director of Market Insight and Market Access with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

European holiday season

Salmon and cod accounted for most of the decline in August, with a reduced export value of NOK 764 million and NOK 236 million, respectively.

“The reason for lower demand is complex, but holiday season in Europe and reduced restaurant consumption is certainly part of the explanation”, says Tom-Jørgen Gangsø.

Poland, Denmark and France were the largest markets for Norwegian seafood in August.

A large decline in China

In 2019, China was the largest growth market for Norwegian seafood exports. Norway is now experiencing a much slower Chinese market. Compared with August 2019, the value of salmon exports to China decreased by 69 per cent in August this year. For the total Norwegian seafood exports to China, the picture is the same:

  • In August, around 7,600 tonnes of Norwegian seafood were exported to China.
  • The total export value was NOK 214 million.
  • This represents a volume decrease of 43 per cent and a decrease in value of 54 per cent.

Two challenges

“The Chinese salmon market has been affected by two waves, first the eruption of covid-19, and then in connection with the so-called incident at a food market in Beijing in June and subsequent media cases about corona and seafood”, says Victoria Braathen, the Norwegian Seafood Council's fisheries envoy to China.

So far this year, Norwegian salmon exports have a total volume decline of 28 per cent and a decline in value of 32 per cent to China.

“While the first wave affected the restaurant and hotel market, the second wave has had a broader effect on the market. We expect demand to pick up again over the autumn”, says Victoria Braathen.

Large decline for salmon

  • 95,100 tonnes of salmon worth NOK 5.3 billion were exported in August.
  • The volume fell by 7 per cent.
  • The value fell by NOK 764 million, or 13 per cent, compared with August last year.
  • Poland, France and Denmark were the largest markets for Norwegian salmon in August.

“During the corona pandemic, an increasing proportion of salmon has been consumed at home instead of in restaurants. This has led to a sharp increase in sales of salmon in the grocery trade. One consequence of this is that an increasing share of salmon exports now goes to Poland, which is the most important processing country for salmon”, says Paul T. Aandahl, Seafood Analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

A total of 15,885 tonnes of salmon products were exported to Poland in August, which accounts for just under 17 per cent of total exports. Export volume was 76 per cent higher than to Denmark, which is our second-largest export market.

Increased exports to the EU

The EU is becoming an increasingly important market for Norwegian salmon. In just one year, the EU market share by value of Norwegian salmon exports has increased from 69 to 74 per cent.

“France is one of the markets that has taken a U-turn in the corona period. When the country closed down, the French were only allowed to shop in small convenience stores. The country has now opened up, and this has an effect on salmon exports. It also helps that the grocery chains have started running price campaigns on salmon to attract customers back”, says Paul T. Aandahl.

Large investments in the French market

The Norwegian Seafood Council's figures show an increase in consumption of fresh salmon in France of 20 per cent in August.

“Even though France has now opened up, we see a strong trend towards continued increased home consumption. Norwegian fresh salmon has a strong position in the French grocery trade, and with continued high domestic consumption, this will intensify. This autumn, the Seafood Council is running a large media campaign towards French consumers, so it will be extra exciting to follow developments”, says Trine Horne, fisheries envoy to France, with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Increased value for trout exports

  • 6,900 tonnes of trout worth NOK 326 million were exported in August.
  • The volume increased by 22 per cent.
  • The value increased by NOK 5 million, or 2 per cent, compared with August last year.
  • Ukraine, the USA and Finland were the largest markets for Norwegian trout in August.

Volume growth for fresh cod

  • Norway exported 2,100 tonnes of fresh cod worth NOK 85 million in August.
  • The volume increased by 42 per cent.
  • Export value fell by NOK 11 million, or 15 per cent, compared with August last year.
  • Denmark, Sweden and Poland were the largest markets for fresh cod from Norway in August.

“Fresh whole cod accounts for the volume growth, but there is a significant fall in prices, measured in Norwegian kroner and euros. There are normally low volumes of fresh cod at this time of year, and even though there is growth in volume, there are lower volumes now than in August 2018”, says Ingrid Kristine Pettersen, Seafood Analyst in the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Continuing fall in prices of frozen cod

  • Norway exported 3,500 tonnes of frozen cod worth NOK 142 million in August.
  • There is a decrease in volume of 34 per cent.
  • The value fell by NOK 79 million, or 36 per cent, compared with August last year.
  • China, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands were the largest markets for frozen cod from Norway in August.

“For frozen whole cod, we have experienced steadily falling prices since April, both in Norwegian kroner and in other currencies. The explanation for this is the loss of the restaurant segment and overall declining demand in the markets”, says Ingrid Kristine Pettersen, Seafood Analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Clipfish exports impacted by challenges in the Brazilian market

  • Norway exported 4,500 tonnes of clipfish worth NOK 219 million in August.
  • There is a reduction in volume of 41 per cent.
  • Value fell by NOK 222 million, or 50 per cent, compared with August last year.
  • Portugal, the Dominican Republic and Brazil were the largest markets for Norwegian clipfish in August.

“For cod clipfish, August was another month with export volumes that are lower than the corresponding month last year. For the second month in a row, the price of saithe clipfish is below last year. A weak local currency and a challenging economic situation in the Brazilian market is the main explanation for the weak development for clipfish for both cod and saithe, says Ingrid Kristine Pettersen, Seafood Analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Salted fish swims against the current

  • Norway exported 1,200 tonnes of salted fish worth NOK 54 million in August.
  • There has been an increase in volume of 92 per cent.
  • The value increased by NOK 22 million, or 69 per cent, compared with August last year.
  • Portugal, Italy and Spain were the largest markets for Norwegian salted fish in August.

“Salted fish is one of the few categories that has value growth in August, which is due to volume growth, especially to Portugal. At the same time, the main season for salted fish is over, and this large growth is from relatively small volumes”, says Ingrid Kristine Pettersen, Seafood Analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council.


Slow going for stockfish

  • Norway exported 322 tonnes of stockfish worth NOK 45 million in August.
  • This is a decrease in volume of 13 per cent.
  • Export value fell by NOK 13 million, or 22 per cent, compared with August last year.
  • Italy, Nigeria and the USA were the largest markets for Norwegian stockfish in August.

“This autumn's stockfish sales to Italy have not started yet. The restaurants have started to reopen, which will be positive for the stockfish as well. Now we are anxiously awaiting the development as the Italians begin to return from vacation. At the same time, there is increasing infection in Italy, and a possible new shutdown in the market will be a big negative", says Ingrid Kristine Pettersen, Seafood Analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Herring exports continue to grow

  • Norway exported 11,600 tonnes of herring worth NOK 171 million in August.
  • This represents is a decrease in volume of 12 per cent.
  • Export value increased by NOK 20 million, or 13 per cent, compared with August last year.
  • Lithuania, the Netherlands and Poland were the largest markets for Norwegian herring in August.

“The main season for North Sea herring is just over. Volumes are on a par with last year, but prices for consumption and flour and oil are rising. We also notice that there is a lower export of herring to the Netherlands. Here, the volume is down by around 15 per cent compared to 2019”, says Jan Eirik Johnsen. Director for Pelagic Fish with the Norwegian Seafood Council,

Low season for mackerel

  • Norway exported 5,400 tonnes of mackerel worth NOK 95 million in August.
  • There is a decrease in volume of 39 per cent.
  • The value fell by NOK 63 million, or 40 per cent, compared with August last year.
  • Vietnam, Ukraine and Sweden were the largest markets for Norwegian mackerel in August.

“We have had a historically high value for mackerel exports so far this year, with an increase of 45 per cent compared to 2019. This is a result of increased quotas and good prices in Norwegian kroner. The export figures for August are characterized by a low season with fewer landings, a small stock and low exports. We are now heading towards autumn with large quotas, so it will be exciting to see how it will affect prices throughout the year, says Jan Eirik Johnsen, Director for Pelagic Fish with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Live king crab exports fall

  • Norway exported 340 tonnes of king crab worth NOK 107 million in August.
  • A volume reduction of 9 per cent.
  • The value fell by NOK 10 million, or 8 per cent, compared with August last year.
  • South Korea, Japan and the Netherlands were the largest markets for Norwegian king crab in August.

“The decline in exports of king crab is mainly due to a reduction in exports of live and fresh king crab. Part of the explanation lies in logistics challenges for several of our most important markets served by air transport. For frozen king crab, on the other hand, there is increased demand, and we are seeing a strong increase in demand from markets such as Japan, Belgium and France”, says Josefine Voraa, Industry Manager for Shellfish with the Norwegian Seafood Council,

Continuing 5-month negative trend for prawn exports

  • 986 tonnes of prawn worth NOK 78 million were exported in August.
  • This is a reduction in volume of 10 per cent.
  • Export value fell by NOK 10 million, or by 11 per cent, compared with August last year.
  • Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands were the largest markets for Norwegian prawn in August.

“The year started well for prawn exports, but since April we have seen a decline in volumes. The largest decline has been in the United Kingdom, which is one of our most important markets for frozen, peeled prawn. At the same time, in August we experienced growth in two of our most important markets, Sweden and Finland, says Josefine Voraa, Industry Manager for Shellfish with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

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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

Ingrid Kristine Pettersen

Ingrid Kristine Pettersen

Market analyst Whitefish and conventional products
Paul T. Aandahl

Paul T. Aandahl

Seafood Analyst +47 975 04 124

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
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9008 Tromsø
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