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Norwegian whitefish exports hit record-high of NOK 8.1 billion in H1 2017

Press release   •   Jul 06, 2017 04:00 UTC

Exports of whitefish have never before had a greater value in the first six months of the year. The growth is due primarily to conventional products, as well as fresh and frozen whole whitefish.

Norway exported 249 000 tonnes of cod, saithe, haddock and other whitefish worth NOK 8.1 billion in the first six months this year. This is an increase of 9 per cent measured in volume and 10 per cent measured in value. We see the greatest increase for conventional products, especially clipfish. But there are also increases for fresh and frozen whole fish. There is still a decline in price for both fresh and frozen fillets.

In June, Norway exported cod, saithe, haddock and other whitefish worth NOK 1.3 billion. This is an increase of NOK 312 million or 32 per cent, compared with June last year.

- We again see that there is an increase in industrial fish to China. There has never been so much frozen whitefish exported in the first six months. In particular, there is a large increase in exports of frozen whole haddock, says Ingrid Kristine Pettersen, Analyst at the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Increase for fresh and frozen products

Norway exported 240 000 tonnes of fresh whitefish products worth NOK 7.7 billion in the first six months this year. This is an increase in volume of 7 per cent and an increase in value of NOK 635 million, or 9 per cent, compared with the first six months last year.

Norway exported 54 000 tonnes of fresh cod worth NOK 1.8 billion in the first six months. This is an increase in volume of 4 000 tonnes and an increase in value of NOK 154 million or 10 per cent from the same period last year. In June, 4 000 tonnes of fresh cod, including fillets, were exported at a value of NOK 134 million. This is an increase in volume of 39 per cent, while the value increased by NOK 27 million, or 26 per cent, compared with June last year.

- The increase in exports of fresh cod in both June and the first six months of 2017 is due to an increased catch at the end of the season. Increased volume and smaller size on the fish mean that we are seeing a lower average price this year compared with last year, says Pettersen.

Norway exported 94 000 tonnes of frozen whitefish products worth NOK 2.3 billion in the first six months. This is an increase in volume of 7 per cent and an increase in value of NOK 178 million, or 8 per cent, compared with the same period last year.

Thirty-nine thousand tonnes of frozen cod, including fillets, were exported at a value of NOK 1.3 billion in the first six months of 2017. This is a decrease in volume of 4 per cent, while the value is at the same level as the first six months of 2016. In June, 5 200 tonnes of frozen cod, including fillets, were exported at a value of NOK 179 million, which is a decline in volume of 5 per cent, while the value increased NOK 4.5 million or 3 per cent compared with June last year.

- Never before has more frozen whole white fish been exported to China in the first six months of the year, neither in value nor volume. The volume is 10 000 tonnes greater than in the same period last year, and a good 3 000 tonnes greater than the previous record year in 2014, while the value is NOK 250 million or 38 per cent higher than 2014. This is due particularly to an increase in exports of frozen whole haddock of 5 000 tonnes or 40 per cent, and an increase in value of NOK 144 million or 73 per cent. An increase is also seen for other whitefish species such as cod, saithe, redfish and Greenland halibut, says Pettersen.

At the same time, a reduction is seen in exports to the United Kingdom of most fresh and frozen products from cod and haddock. The volume has been reduced by 3 000 tonnes or 13 per cent, while the value is down NOK 71 million or 11 per cent. This can probably be explained in part by a weakened pound sterling, which has made all the products relatively more expensive to British buyers.

Increase in exports of whole salted fish in June

Norway exported 20 000 tonnes of salted fish worth NOK 900 million in the first six months. This is a reduction in volume of 6 per cent and a decline in value of 1 per cent compared with the same period last year. In June, 3 000 tonnes of salted fish were exported at a value of NOK 127 million. This is an increase of 1 700 tonnes or 131 per cent, and NOK 76 million or 147 per cent, compared with the same period last year.

- So far this year we have seen a reduction in exports of whole salted fish, but there was an increase in June as was expected after several producers had a late start with salting this year, says Pettersen.

Clipfish is up

Norway exported 42 000 tonnes of clipfish worth NOK 1.9 billion in the first six months. This is an increase in volume of 6 700 tonnes or 19 per cent, and an increase in value of NOK 233 million or 14 per cent from the same period last year. In June, 8 000 tonnes of clipfish were exported at a value of NOK 397 million. This is an increase 2 500 tonnes or 43 per cent and an increase in value of NOK 119 million versus June last year.

There is a particularly large increase for clipfish from saithe, which has increased by 4 500 tonnes to 20 000 tonnes in the first six months of the year. There has been an increase in value of 17 per cent to NOK 616 million so far this year. There is a particularly large increase in clipfish to Brazil, with a 60 per cent increase in volume and 54 per cent to NOK 180 million.

- A relatively stable currency and small stocks of clipfish after Easter mean that we are experiencing a large increase in volume to Brazil. Work is being done now to increase the sales of clipfish in Brazil outside the usual holidays of Easter and Christmas. It can also be noted that the price difference between cod and saithe is now twice as large, and it is pleasant to see that we are getting a higher price per kg for the Brazil cod during this period, says market consultant Vasco Tørrissen Duarte at the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Increase in value for stockfish

Norway exported 2 000 tonnes of whole stockfish worth NOK 900 million in the first six months. This is an increase in volume of 4 per cent and an increase in value of NOK 18.2 million or 8 per cent, compared with the same period last year. In June, 241 tonnes of whole stockfish were exported at a value of NOK 29 million. This is an increase in value of NOK 8 million or 41 per cent.

The greatest increase is in the exports of stockfish to Italy with an increase of NOK 20 million or 13 per cent compared with the same period last year.

There is still a large increase in exports of stockfish heads, particularly to Nigeria, up NOK 45 million or 104 per cent, to NOK 89 million in the course of the first six months of the year. 

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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