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Strong start for Norwegian seafood exports in 2019

Press release   •   Mar 05, 2019 05:00 UTC

Photo credit: the Norwegian Seafood Council

Norway exported 198,700 tonnes of seafood with a value of NOK 7.8 billion in February. This is a reduction of 57,000 tonnes or 22 per cent in volume but an increase in the value of NOK 670 million or 9 per cent compared with February last year. So far this year, 406,000 tonnes of seafood have been exported with a value of NOK 16.4 billion. This is a 13 per cent decrease in volume while export value has increased by NOK 1.6 billion or 11 per cent compared with the same period last year.

“February 2019 has been the best ever February for Norwegian seafood exports. This is due, among other factors, to the increased value of salmon exports once again. In addition, increased volumes and increased shipping prices have contributed to a value increase in the whitefish category. There has also been an increase in the value herring and mackerel exports in February, contributing to the strong results. Volume declines for this month is attributed to the lack of catch of capelin”, says seafood analyst Ingrid Kristine Pettersen.

A bright month for salmon

In February, 80,000 tonnes of salmon were exported with a value of NOK 5.1 billion. This is an increase in volume of 7 per cent and a value increase of NOK 492 million or 11 per cent compared with February 2018. So far this year, 166,000 tonnes of salmon have been exported with a value of NOK 10.7 billion. This is an increase in volume of 4 per cent while the value has increased by NOK 1.1 billion or 11 per cent. The average price for fresh whole salmon in February was NOK 58.94 per kg compared to NOK 58.34 per kg in February 2018.

“The largest emerging markets in February were Poland, Denmark and Lithuania. These are markets where a high proportion of salmon is processed for export to other markets, mainly within the EU. We are seeing positive trends especially in the consumption of smoked salmon in markets such as Germany, France and Italy”, says seafood analyst Paul T. Aandahl.

Big increases in trout exports

In February, 3,600 tonnes of trout were exported with a value of NOK 251 million. Volume increased by 22 per cent while the value increased by NOK 68 million or 37 per cent compared with February last year. So far this year, 7,600 tonnes of trout have been exported with a value of NOK 514 million. This is an increase in volume of 23 per cent, and an increase in value of NOK 124 million or 32 per cent. The United States, Belarus and Thailand were our largest trout markets in February.

Herring and mackerel also increase

38,300 tonnes of herring were exported in February, with a value of NOK 281 million. This is an increase in volume of 43 per cent while export value increased by NOK 53 million or 23 per cent. So far this year, 73,000 tonnes of herring have been exported with a value of NOK 566 million. This represents an increase in volume of 19 per cent, while export value increased by NOK 13 million or 2 per cent.

“In 2019, a larger proportion of herring was exported as whole herring, with strong growth in African markets such as Egypt and Nigeria. Exports of fillets to the traditional key herring markets of Germany and Poland have declined”, says seafood analyst Paul T. Aandahl.

In February, 15 600 tonnes of mackerel were exported totaling NOK 264 million. Export volume fell by 11 per cent while value increased by NOK 42 million or 19 per cent. So far this year, 38,100 tonnes of mackerel have been exported with a total value of NOK 634 million. This is an increase in volume of 2 per cent year-on-year and an increase of NOK 168 million or 36 per cent in value.

“The most important consumer market for Norwegian mackerel is Japan. Most of China's mackerel is processed for the Japanese market. So long this year, 38 per cent of our mackerel exports have gone to China and Japan. Last year, the proportion was just 18 per cent”, says Aandahl.

Reduction in fresh cod but an increase for skrei and frozen cod

8,800 tonnes of fresh cod, including scrap, were exported with a value of NOK 356 million. This is a 33 per cent decrease in volume and a fall of NOK 98 million or 22 per cent compared to February last year. So far this year, 13,500 tonnes of fresh cod, including scrap, have been exported totalling NOK 583 million. This is a decrease in volume of 28 per cent, and a decrease in value of NOK 101 million or 15 per cent. Of this, skrei represents 1,900 tonnes, an increase of 6 per cent in February. The value of skrei was NOK 88 million, an increase of NOK 21 million or 31 per cent. Denmark, Poland and the Netherlands were the largest recipients of fresh cod in February.

“Less fresh cod has been landed so far this year, compared to the same period in 2018. This is due to bad weather, amongst other factors. Lower volumes have led to higher prices, both for fishermen and for exporters. The only category that saw volume growth was fresh cod, whole skrei with an increase of 18 per cent to 2,800 tonnes so far this year. The average price so far this year is NOK 48.8 per kg, an increase of 21 per cent”, says seafood analyst Ingrid Kristine Pettersen.

In February, 7,200 tonnes of frozen cod were exported with a value of NOK 313 million. This is a decrease in volume of 4 per cent and an increase in value of NOK 45 million or 17 per cent. So far this year, 17,000 tonnes of frozen cod have been exported with a value of NOK 709 million. This represents an increase in volume of 11 per cent, and a growth in value of NOK 170 million or 32 per cent. China, the UK and the Netherlands were the largest recipients of frozen cod in February.

Rapid growth for clipfish exports

In February, 9,300 tonnes of clipfish were exported with a value of NOK 386 million. The volume increased by 69 per cent, and export value increased by NOK 156 million or 68 per cent compared to February last year. So far this year, 18,600 tonnes of clipfish have been exported with a value of NOK 795 million. This is an increase in volume of 24 per cent, and an increase in value of NOK 152 million or 24 per cent. Brazil, Portugal and the Dominican Republic were our main markets in February.

“We have seen volume growth for both cod and saithe fish in February, especially in exports to Brazil. So far this year, 41 per cent more clipfish has been exported to Brazil than at the same time last year. The Norwegian kronor remains weak against the dollar which helps to explain this development”, says Director of NSCs operations in Brazil, Øystein Valanes.

“It is gratifying to see an increase in exports to Brazil. A late Easter means later shipments from Norway, in addition we are expecting a rise in local market purchasing power and important regulatory changes regarding access to the Brazilian market. These are all grounds for optimism, combined with lower shipping prices to fishermen and exporters”, says Director of NSC operations in Brazil, Øystein Valanes,

"The high Brazilian export volumes are also the reason why for the first time in a while we see that the price of saithe rockfish is increasing, just as we have seen fresh and frozen saithe increase in recent months," says seafood analyst Ingrid Kristine Pettersen.

Salted fish exports decrease

In February, 1,700 tonnes of salted fish were exported with a value of NOK 87 million. The volume fell by 23 per cent while the value fell by NOK 18 million or 17 per cent compared with February last year. So far this year, 2,500 tonnes of salted fish have been exported with a value of NOK 126 million. This represents a decrease in volume of 23 per cent while export value fell by NOK 25 million or 17 per cent. Greece, Portugal and Spain were our main markets in February.

“A reduction in saltfish exports is also the result of a late start to this year's fishing. We are seeing a considerable rise in prices, especially for cod fish. At the same time, there is a considerable price increase also impacting fishermen, which can contribute to reduced saltfish volumes”, says seafood analyst Ingrid Kristine Pettersen.

Both shrimp and king crab improve
189 tonnes of king crab were exported with a value of NOK 58 million. This is a decrease in volume of 6 per cent, but an increase in export values of NOK 4 million or 7 per cent. South Korea, the United States and Japan were the largest export markets of king crabs in January.

Lower quotas and a lower catch of king crab triggered a price increase of 13 per cent and a value increase of 7 per cent. It is also gratifying to see the return of the snow crab in our export statistics, with both higher catches and higher levels of exports”, says seafood analyst Ingrid Kristine Pettersen. 

Increase in exports of prawns and king crab

Norway exported 960 tonnes prawns at a value of NOK 111 million in February. This is an increase in volume of 47 per cent, while value increased with NOK 29 million, or 53 per cent against February last year. The UK, Sweden and Finland were the largest markets for prawns the past month.

February saw 189 tonnes of king crab exported to a value of NOK 58 million. This is a decrease of 6 per cent in volumes, but the export value increased by NOK 4 million, or 7 per cent. South-Korea, USA and Japan were the largest markets in February. Lower quotas and catch of king crab resulted in a increased price of 13 per cent and an increase in value of 7 per cent, compared to February of last year.

“We’re also delighted to see the return of the snow crab, with both higher catches and exports”, says seafood analyst, Ingrid Kristine Pettersen. 

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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