Quiet week for the pelagic fleet, most have made it home for the Christmas break, Norges Sildesalgslag reports in week 49 of 2022 Norway exported NOK 18.4 billion worth of seafood in October, an increase of 22 percent compared to the same month last year

Norway seafood exports were worth NOK 18.4 billion in October, an increase of 22 percent compared to the same month last year

Norway exported NOK 18.4 billion (€1.55bn/£1.35bn) worth of seafood in October. This is an increase of NOK 3.3 billion (€277m/£242.6m), or 22 percent, compared to the same month last year.

Never has Norway exported a higher value of seafood in a single month than in October. The last top quotation from a single month originates from March this year. The export value then ended at NOK 15.7 billion (€1.3bn/£1.15bn).

Best single month ever

“The growth in value for salmon continues, contributing greatly to October being the best single month ever for Norwegian seafood exports. The combination of high salmon prices, increased export volume and the weak Norwegian krone, lifted the total value to a historically high level,” says the CEO of the Norwegian Seafood Council, Christian Chramer.

In October, Norway exported salmon worth NOK 12.5 billion (€1.05bn/£919m). It accounted for 68 percent of the total value of seafood exports last month, which is a growth of 22 percent compared to October last year.

The export value of salmon has passed NOK 100 billion in 2023

“So far this year, the export value of salmon has increased by 18 percent, measured in Norwegian kroner, and in October, the value passed NOK 100 billion (€8.4bn/£7.35bn) for the year. However, much of the increase in value can be attributed to a weaker Norwegian krone. Measured in euros, the export value of salmon has only increased by four percent so far this year,” explains Chramer.

So far this year, Norway has exported NOK 142.4 billion (€12bn/£10.5bn) worth of seafood. In comparison, Norway exported seafood worth NOK 151.4 billion (€12.75bn/£11.13bn) in 2022, which was a new record.

Three factors driving export value

“2023 has so far been characterised by high food inflation, increased costs and a strong currency effect. These factors have helped push up the value measured in Norwegian kroner. The result is that seafood exports this year will be at a record high,” says Christian Cramer.

In line with expensive times and reduced purchasing power, over time, there has been a decline in the import and consumption of seafood in many of the large European seafood markets.

“The decline in inflation in recent months, as well as prospects for somewhat improved economic development, however, gives hope that demand will improve in Europe going forward,” says Christian Chramer.

Facts about seafood exports in October

  • The largest markets for Norwegian seafood exports in October were Poland, Denmark and the USA.
  • Poland had the largest increase in value this month, with an increase in export value of NOK 740 million (€62.3m/£54.4m), or 41 percent, compared to the same month last year.
  • The export volume to Poland ended at 37,283 tonnes, which is 18 percent higher than the same month last year.
  • Seafood was exported to a total of 116 countries in October.
  • Of the wild-caught species, it was herring and mackerel that had the greatest increase in value in October.
 
Positive value development for herring
  • Norway exported 23,314 tonnes of herring worth NOK 430 million in October
  • Export value increased by NOK 22 million, or 5 percent, compared to October last year.
  • Export volume fell by 20 percent.
  • Poland, Lithuania and Germany were the biggest markets for herring in October.

The important NVG catching season started in early October. The first few weeks were quiet, but from the middle of the month, there was good fishing, with 36,200 tonnes in week 42 and 47,200 tonnes in week 43.

 
Turning from whole frozen herring to fillet

The reduction in export volume is due to a shift from whole frozen herring to fillets.

“Last year, 11,000 tonnes of frozen whole NVG herring were exported in October, while exports fell to 2,600 this year. The price of frozen whole NVG herring is around 20 percent higher than last year, and only Egypt keeps up with these prices,” says Jan Eirik Johnsen, Manager of Pelagic Species with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

So far this year, 61,500 tonnes of frozen whole herring have been exported, compared to 94,000 tonnes at the same time last year. This is a decrease of 35 percent.

“There is still good demand for herring fillets, especially in Lithuania, Poland and Germany,” explains Johnsen.

In October, 14,400 tonnes of fillet were exported, compared to 11,300 tonnes in the same month last year, an increase of 27 percent. This is happening even though the prices for herring fillets increased by 18 percent on average from October last year to October this year.

“Lower herring quotas this year compared to last year and an even lower quota for NVG herring next year, together with a weak krone, contribute to a high level of export prices,” says Jan Eirik Johnsen.

 
Growth in volume and value for mackerel
  • Norway exported 79,172 tonnes of mackerel to a value of NOK 1.8 billion in October.
  • The value increased by NOK 357 million, or 25 percent, compared to October last year.
  • There is a growth in volume of 4 percent.
  • Japan, South Korea and China were the biggest markets for mackerel in October.

Good volume and a record-high average price for mackerel resulted in a record-high export value in a single month.

The average price in October this year was NOK 22.50, compared to NOK 18.70 in October last year, an increase of 20 percent. At the same time, the price that the industry pays to the fleet has increased by 28 percent so far this year.

 
Fishing takes off in British waters

“After poor fishing in the Norwegian zone in September, fishing picked up when the Norwegian boats started fishing in the British zone in October. The agreement with Great Britain in June this year enabled Norwegian fishermen to fish 135,000 tonnes in British waters. Of this, only 400 tonnes now remain. For the fleet, there are now approx. 35,000 tonnes in the Norwegian zone,” says Jan Eirik Johnsen, Manager of Pelagic Species with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

 

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