Norwegian pelagic exports 2020

Mackerel and herring were the two main Norwegian pelagic exports in 2020

Norges Sildesalgslag has reported a good year for Norwegian Pelagic exports in 2020 despite the impacts of COVID-19.

2020 proves a record year for mackerel exports and a strong year for herring exports, including mackerel roe.

The export value of mackerel ended at a record NOK 5 billion (€482m) and while herring exports fell by 11% in volume, they increased by 18%, or NOK 590 million (€57m) in value. Herring roe in particular set a new solid record in 2020 with an export value of NOK 430 million (€41.5m).

Mackerel is the second largest species in the catching sector.

  • The volume of mackerel in 2020 ended at 300,000 tonnes.
  • The value ended on a new record with 5 billion kroner (€482m).
  • The volume increased 26 percent from 2019.
  • The value increased by NOK 693 million (€66.8m), or 16 percent.

 “With an increase in the mackerel quota of 41 percent from 2019, it was in the cards that the export volume would increase significantly in 2020. Usually leads to a sharp increase in supply to a correspondingly sharp fall in price, but good demand in important markets such as Japan, South Korea and Taiwan caused the price drop to be a moderate 7 percent,” says responsible for pelagic strategy in the Norwegian Seafood Council, Jan Eirik Johnsen.

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“In addition to the fact that mackerel is strong in the food culture in our important Asian markets, we have in recent years seen a significant product development, increased focus on healthy food and increased sales through e-commerce, especially in South Korea. All these factors have contributed to raising the consumption of Norwegian mackerel,” says Jan Eirik Johnsen.

Herring experienced strong value growth last year.

  • 316,000 tonnes of herring were exported in 2020.
  • The value was NOK 3.8 billion (€366.4m).
  • The volume fell 11 percent.
  • The value increased by NOK 590 million (€56.9m), or 18 per cent.

“History has shown us that herring is doing well in times of crisis, and that was also true this time. In Germany, which is our most important herring market and where herring consumption has been falling over time, we saw that the demand for especially canned herring jumped when the corona crisis occurred,” says Jan Eirik Johnsen.

In total, consumption of herring in Germany increased by 10 percent last year.

“We saw the same development in our second most important herring market, Poland. The increased demand in these markets led to a shift in exports from whole frozen herring to fillets and processed products at a higher price,” says Jan Eirik Johnsen.

Exports of herring roe set a solid new record in 2020. The export volume increased by 53 per cent and the price by 73 percent compared with 2019. This gave an export value of NOK 430 million.

“Lack of capelin fishing and thus lack of capelin roe in the market resulted in a sharp increase in the demand for herring roe. Herring roe has become a gold product from the sea’s silver,” concluded Jan Eirik Johnsen.


Brian J McMullin Solicitors
MMG Welding Killybegs

Norwegian fisheries have bumper 2020 for Pelagic Exports

by editor time to read: 7 min