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Photo: Norwegian Seafood Council
Photo: Norwegian Seafood Council

Press release -

Norwegian seafood exports grow by NOK 7.9 billion

Never before has Norwegian seafood exports attained a higher value for the first nine months of the year. So far this year, seafood exports have totalled NOK 84.7 billion, which corresponds to a growth in value of 10 per cent, or NOK 7.9 billion, when measured against the same period last year.

“A gradual reopening of the markets has given a boost to the demand for Norwegian seafood. From a fall in exports at the beginning of the year, we have seen a sharp growth in the third quarter. This is our strongest quarterly result of all time, and everything is pointing towards 2021 being a record year for Norwegian seafood exports”, says Renate Larsen, CEO of the Norwegian Seafood Council.

The current export record was set in 2019 of NOK 107.2 billion. After the first nine months of this year, export value is now NOK 8.6 billion ahead of the same period in the record year.

A happy development

“It is gratifying that Norwegian seafood exports continue to show strong development and that the value growth is spread across a number of species and products. I am delighted that the seafood industry has recovered well from the corona crisis, and that there is once again a high demand for seafood in the export markets. Conditions should be conducive to further growth in exports, and I wish this entire fantastic industry good luck in the future”, says Minister of Fisheries and Seafood Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen (H).

Amongst individual species, salmon and mackerel have contributed the most to value growth so far this year, but king crab and snow crab have also recorded value records.

Largest growth in Asia

“When it comes to market development, we have seen the strongest growth in exports to Asia, where countries such as China, South Korea and Thailand have really opened their eyes to Norwegian seafood. In addition, we see a very good export growth to the USA and Italy, says Renate Larsen.

After a tight start to the year compared to last year, export value has picked up speed in the second and third quarters. This has happened despite the krone strengthening over the year, which has made Norwegian seafood more expensive to buy in the global market.

Exports development quarterly:

  • Q1: NOK 27,9 billion (-2 per cent)
  • Q2: NOK 25,9 billion (+5 per cent)
  • Q3: NOK 31 billion (+33 per cent)


Promising prospects

“The position of Norwegian seafood is very strong in the global market. Consumers not only continue to make seafood dishes at home in their own kitchen, but more and more of them have discovered that Norwegian seafood delivers on important criteria such as sustainability and taste. If home consumption continues to remain stable even after the restaurants have opened up, it looks promising for further export growth”, says Renate Larsen.

Best single month ever

As in the third quarter, seafood exports in September reached record highs:

  • Seafood worth NOK 11.8 billion was exported in September
  • This is the highest value measured in a single month. The previous record was from October 2019
  • The value increased by NOK 3.3 billion, or 39 per cent, compared with September last year

A strong year for salmon so far

  • Norway exported 912,000 tonnes of salmon for NOK 56.9 billion in the first nine months of the year
  • Export volume increased by 14 per cent
  • Export value increased by NOK 5.1 billion, or 10 per cent, compared with the same period last year
  • The average price for fresh whole salmon so far this year is NOK 57.81, down 3 percent from the same time last year
  • Poland, France and Denmark have been the largest recipients of Norwegian salmon

“Good production conditions have resulted in record export volumes so far this year. Demand for salmon is back on track after a fall in the first 12 months of the pandemic. This is shown, among other things, by the rising salmon price in September”, says Paul T. Aandahl, Seafood Analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Lift in China and Italy

In September, the seafood export price increased by 7 per cent, to NOK 53.21 per kg, at the same time as the export volume of the main product fresh whole salmon increased by as much as 24 per cent, to 115,000 tonnes.

“China and Italy are the markets that have had the greatest growth in value so far this year. These were countries that were strongly affected by the pandemic last year. This year we see that consumption has increased sharply in both of these markets”, says Paul T. Aandahl.

High levels of home consumption

Despite the reopening of the restaurants, the consumption of salmon at home seems to be remaining at the same level as last year in most markets.

“This means that the consumption of salmon in a restaurant comes on top of an already record high consumption at home. The exception is Spain, where home consumption is between the levels in 2019 and 2020”, says Paul T. Aandahl.

September was also a very strong month for Norwegian salmon exports:

  • 135,800 tonnes of salmon worth NOK 7.8 billion were exported
  • This represents an increase in volume of 22 per cent
  • Export value increased by NOK 1.8 billion, or 30 per cent, compared with September last year
  • The average price for fresh whole salmon was NOK 53.21 per kg, up 7 per cent from the same time last year

Trout exports are down

  • Norway exported 44,400 tonnes of trout for NOK 2.8 billion in the first nine months of the year
  • Export volume fell by 16 per cent
  • Export value fell by NOK 76 million, or 3 per cent, compared with the same period last year
  • Belarus, Ukraine and the USA and have been the largest markets for Norwegian trout

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

  • 6,700 tonnes of trout worth NOK 421 million were exported
  • The volume fell by 10 per cent
  • The value increased by NOK 55 million, or 15 per cent, compared with September last year

“Trout production is lower than in 2020, and this has resulted in declining export volumes so far this year. However, the rise in prices has led to the export value of trout being almost at the same level as last year, says Seafood Analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Growth for fresh cod

  • Norway exported 55,800 tonnes of fresh cod worth NOK 2 billion in the first nine months of the year
  • This represents an increase in volume of 33 per cent
  • The value increased by NOK 171 million, or 9 per cent, compared with the same period last year
  • Denmark, Poland and the Netherlands have been the largest recipients of fresh cod from Norway

“Increased volume has compensated for lower prices and increased the value of fresh cod. In every single month since February, the export volume of fresh whole cod has been higher than in 2019 and 2020”, says Eivind Hestvik Brækkan, Seafood Analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Partially closed hotels, restaurants and catering during the cod season and increased export volumes contributed to a significant fall in fresh cod prices in the first half of the year.

Fresh fillets of cod see growth

“From May, however, export prices have increased in line with the reopening of important markets in Europe, although they are still somewhat below last year. We have the largest volume growth for fresh fillets, which has increased by as much as 42 per cent, while exports of fresh whole cod have increased by 33 per cent”, says Eivind Hestvik Brækkan.

September also saw growth in exports of fresh cod:

  • 2,300 tonnes of fresh cod worth NOK 103 million were exported
  • There is an increase in volume of 30 per cent
  • Export value increased by NOK 20 million, or 25 per cent, compared with September last year

A decline in value for frozen cod

  • Norway exported 57,600 tonnes of frozen cod worth NOK 2.3 billion in the first nine months of the year
  • Export volume increased by 9 per cent
  • Export value fell by NOK 135 million, or 6 per cent, compared with the same period last year
  • China, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands have been the largest recipients of frozen cod from Norway

For frozen whole cod, export volume to China is down 2 per cent compared to last year, while export volume to Europe increased by 18 per cent in the first nine months of the year.

“One reason for the shift towards increased exports to Europe and a decline to China is that the transport costs of frozen seafood at sea have increased sharply this year and made it more expensive to transport frozen seafood both to and from China”, says Eivind Hestvik Brækkan, Seafood Analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Prices have risen

After low prices for frozen whole cod at the beginning of 2021, prices have increased in the third quarter and are now higher than last year.

“The prices of frozen fillets have fallen somewhat in recent months. After a sharp growth in demand for frozen fillet products at the beginning of the pandemic last year, we are now at 2019 levels”, says Eivind Hestvik Brækkan.

The export volume of frozen fillets increased by 18 per cent, and to our two largest export countries, the United Kingdom and France, volume increased by 35 and 36 per cent, respectively.

Exciting developments

“Home consumption of cod is continuing even though the restaurants are now open again. French consumers seem to continue to cook more seafood at home in their own kitchen than before, and this is an exciting development”, says Trine Horne, the Norwegian Seafood Council's envoy to France.

September saw growth in exports of frozen cod:

  • 4,900 tonnes of frozen cod worth NOK 198 million were exported
  • There is an increase in the volume of 46 per cent
  • Export value increased by NOK 57 million, or 41 per cent, compared with September last year

Growth in volume for clipfish

  • Norway exported 62,000 tonnes of clipfish worth NOK 2.9 billion in the first nine months of the year
  • This represents a growth in volume of 11 per cent
  • The value is at the same level as last year
  • Portugal, Brazil and the Dominican Republic have been the largest markets for Norwegian clipfish

Export volume to our largest clipfish market Portugal is unchanged from last year.

“We had the largest volume growth to Brazil, with an increase of 34 per cent, or 2,900 tonnes. After being hit hard by the corona pandemic in 2020 and the beginning of 2021, the positive development we have seen in Brazil in recent months continues”, says Eivind Hestvik Brækkan with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Most of the increase in Brazil has come in the third quarter, where the volume of clipfish of cod increased as much as 149 per cent from the third quarter last year, while the volume of clipfish of saithe increased by 98 per cent.

Robust demand

“The clipfish price for cod has been low throughout much of 2021, but with rising prices in recent months, September was the first month with a higher export price than the same month last year, only marginally lower than the price in September 2019”, says Eivind Hestvik Brækkan.

For clipfish of saithe, the good development trend continues, with strong demand in African markets, the Dominican Republic, Brazil and Jamaica, and the export price has since June been higher than the corresponding months in 2019 and 2020.

In September, there was growth in both volume and value for clipfish.

  • 9,100 tonnes of clipfish worth NOK 467 million were exported
  • An increase of 12 per cent in export volume
  • Export value increased by NOK 41 million, or 10 per cent, compared with September last year

A fall in value for salted fish exports

  • Norway exported 20,000 tonnes of salted fish worth NOK 931 million in the first nine months of the year
  • This is an increase in volume of 2 per cent
  • Export value fell by NOK 222 million, or 19 per cent, compared with the same period last year
  • Portugal, Italy and Greece have been our most important markets for Norwegian salted fish

The export volume to our largest market, Portugal, increased by 12 per cent, or 1,350 tonnes, in the first nine months of the year. Spain has the largest decline, with a 32 percent lower volume, or 690 tonnes.

A good September

“The prices of salted whole cod were significantly lower in the first half of the year than last year, but after price increases in recent months, the export price in September is higher than last year, and at the same level as in September 2019”, says Eivind Hestvik Brækkan, Seafood Analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

September was a good month for salted fish exports compared to the same month last year:

  • 2,400 tonnes of salted fish worth NOK 115 million were exported
  • There is an increase in volume of 52 percent
  • The value increased by NOK 36 million, or 45 per cent, compared with September last year

Decline in export value for stockfish

  • Norway exported 2,800 tonnes of stockfish worth NOK 449 million in the first nine months of the year
  • This is an increase in volume of 5 per cent
  • The value fell by NOK 25 million, or 5 per cent, compared with the same period last year
  • Italy, Nigeria and the USA have been our most important markets for Norwegian stockfish

Italy and Nigeria have had the largest growth in stockfish this year, with 17 and 19 per cent volume growth, respectively. Although the price of whole stock cod has increased in recent months, it is still somewhat lower than last year.

“A high proportion of vaccinated consumers, more and more open restaurants and an expected growth in Italy's seafood consumption in the next few years can contribute positively to the future development of Norway's largest stockfish market”, says the Norwegian Seafood Council's envoy to Italy, Gunvar L. Wie.

September saw a drop in both volume and value for stockfish exports.

  • 469 tonnes of stockfish worth NOK 74 million were exported
  • This is a decrease in volume of 4 per cent
  • The value fell by NOK 14 million, or 16 per cent, compared with September last year

Herring exports remain solid

  • Norway exported 206,400 tonnes of herring worth NOK 2.4 billion in the first nine months of the year
  • This represents an increase in volume of 2 per cent
  • Export value fell by NOK 206 million, or 2 per cent, compared with the same period last year
  • Poland, Lithuania and Germany have been the most important direct export markets for Norwegian herring

Herring exports so far this year are roughly on a par with 2020, which was a good year.

“With a solid increase in the quota for Norwegian spring-spawning herring (NVG), it was expected that prices would come under pressure, but demand in the markets, which we then increased as a result of the pandemic, has helped keep prices up”, says Jan Eirik Johnsen, Manager for Pelagic Species with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Normalising consumption

In markets such as Germany and Poland, we now see that the pandemic effect is weakening, and consumption of herring has returned to normal levels before the pandemic.

“The increased quota for NVG herring and a lot of herring of small size in the first quarter has meant that exports of whole frozen herring have increased compared to fillets. This has contributed to the value falling by 2 per cent, even though the prices of whole frozen and filleted meat have increased and the export volume has increased by 2 per cent”, says Johnsen.

In September, there was a decline in both the volume and value of herring exports:

  • 14,700 tonnes of herring were exported with a value of NOK 246 million
  • This is a volume decrease of 18 per cent
  • Export value fell by NOK 83 million, or 25 per cent, compared with September last year

Record early start for mackerel season

  • Norway exported 257,600 tonnes of mackerel worth NOK 3.8 billion in the first nine months of the year
  • There is an increase in volume of 89 per cent
  • The value increased by NOK 1.4 billion, or 59 per cent, compared with the same period last year
  • China, Japan and South Korea have been the largest markets for Norwegian mackerel

The autumn season for mackerel normally starts in late September or early October, but this year it started in August.

Larger quotas

“The reason for this is that there was no new mackerel agreement when the previous one expired at the turn of the year. Without an agreement, Norwegian fishermen lost the opportunity to fish in British waters. Based on research showing that mackerel are increasingly in Norwegian waters, Norway increased its quota for 2021 compared to 2020. Larger quotas and large catches of mackerel in Norwegian waters earlier in the season and good demand are the explanation for the record numbers for August, September and so far this year”, says Jan Eirik Johnsen, Manager for Pelagic Species with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Increasing demand

Demand for mackerel has increased during the pandemic and is good in most markets.

“In Japan, which is our most important mackerel market, consumption of Norwegian mackerel has increased. Japanese importers are now active in Norway to secure enough high-quality mackerel so that they have stock levels until next season”, says , Johan Kvalheim, the Norwegian Seafood Council's envoy to Japan and South Korea.

September was also a very good month for mackerel exports:

  • 95,800 tonnes of mackerel worth NOK 1.3 billion were exported
  • This is an increase in volume of 1,449 per cent
  • Export value increased by NOK 1.2 billion, or 1,212 per cent, compared with September last year

Record volumes of king crab

  • Norway exported 1,900 tonnes of king crab worth NOK 789 million in the first nine months of the year
  • There is an increase in volume of 36 per cent
  • Export value increased by NOK 326 million, or 71 per cent, compared with the same period last year
  • South Korea, Hong Kong SAR and the USA have been the largest recipients of Norwegian king crab

Demand for both live and frozen king crab has never been higher, which is reflected in both increased export prices and increasing volumes. The export price of king crab is today double what it was 20 years ago.

Growth to both Europe and the USA

“Record prices for frozen king crab have led to more of the Norwegian king crab being processed and exported as frozen. For frozen king crab, there has been the greatest growth to European markets and the USA as a result of the reopening of the restaurant sector and increased sales of king crab in the fresh food counters”, says Josefine Voraa, Manager for Shellfish with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

For live king crab, the largest growth has been in the Asian markets, with an increase in export value of 81 per cent, or NOK 175 million.

Lower fishing activity

In September, the value of king crab continued to increase:

  • 205 tonnes of king crab worth NOK 100 million were exported
  • There is a reduction in export volume of 18 per cent
  • Export value increased by NOK 22 million, or 28 per cent, compared with September last year

“The decrease in volume in September is primarily due to slightly lower fishing activity and less exports of live king crab compared to September last year. For frozen king crab, on the other hand, the volume increased by 10 percent and the export price by 55 per cent, from NOK 362 per kg in September last year to NOK 563 per kg in September this year”, says Josefine Voraa.

Spain was the largest single market for frozen king crab with 36 tonnes worth NOK 18 million.

Exciting growth for snow crab

  • Norway exported 4,400 tonnes of snow crab worth NOK 810 million in the first nine months of the year
  • Export volumes increased by 138 per cent
  • Export value increased by NOK 542 million, or 202 per cent, compared with the same period last year
  • The USA, Denmark and Japan have been the largest recipients of Norwegian snow crab

With increased quotas, good fishing, and strong demand for snow crab in the American and Japanese markets, there has been an adventurous development in the export of snow crab until the quota was fished up in July and the adventure was paused until next year.

Popular in the USA

“In the US, the corona pandemic led to more snow crabs being sold and promoted in the grocery trade, which proved to be very popular with American consumers and sent both demand and prices up. Norwegian exports of snow crab to the USA have increased by 1,311 tonnes, or 234 per cent, compared with the same period last year. In addition, prices have increased by 15 per cent in the same period”, says Josefine Voraa, Manager for Shellfish with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Rise in export value for prawn

  • 10,600 tonnes of prawn worth NOK 686 million were exported in the first nine months of the year
  • For prawn, the volume growth was 22 per cent
  • The value increased by NOK 20 million, or 3 per cent, compared with the same period last year
  • Sweden, the United Kingdom and Finland have been the largest markets for Norwegian prawn

“In terms of volume, there has been a good development in prawn exports so far this year, but lower export prices for the largest products, frozen peeled prawns and frozen shell prawns, means that the increase in value is only slightly over last year”, says Josefine Voraa, Manager for Shellfish with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Good prawn fishing in the Barents Sea has meant that far more industrial prawn have been exported to Iceland. In terms of volume, exports of frozen raw prawns increased by 412 per cent, or 1,725 tonnes.

Same levels as in 2020

“In our largest export prawn market Sweden, the closure of the hotel, restaurant and catering sector led to prawn sales transferring to the grocery trade. Despite a shift towards more sales in groceries and increased competition from other provider countries, exports of fresh shell prawns and frozen peeled prawns under two kilos have increased to Sweden. We are now on a par with last year, both in volume and value”, says Josefine Voraa, Manager for Shellfish with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

The UK, which is our second largest prawn market, is normalizing after both Brexit and the corona pandemic. So far this year, there has been a volume growth to the UK of 44 per cent, or 432 tonnes.

In September, there was growth in both volume and value for prawn exports:

  • In September, 1,800 tonnes of prawn worth NOK 99 million were exported
  • This represents an increase in export volume of 12 per cent
  • Export value increased by NOK 2.6 million, or 3 per cent, compared with September 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

Chris Guldberg

Chris Guldberg

Press contact Communications Director +4792810707
Anette Grøttland Zimowski

Anette Grøttland Zimowski

Press contact Head of International PR +47 919 13 865

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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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