Norwegian seafood sells like never before – VG

Salmon is by far the most popular seafood export we have. In the first half of the year, we sold over 534,000 tonnes of the fish.

The sale of Norwegian seafood is going so well. In the first half of the year, we exported for more than NOK 70 billion.

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That is NOK 16.4 billion better than the same period last year – a value increase of 31 percent, the overview from the Norwegian Seafood Council shows.

The director of the Seafood Council uses the word «historical». The background for the adventurous growth is that food prices are rising, that demand is rising, at the same time as the supply of raw materials was lower.

In half a year, Norway has exceeded the export value for the whole of 2015.

Strongest single month

June was the strongest month of June ever – and it is also the best single month ever measured in value. In June alone, exports amounted to NOK 12.3 billion. The previous record was set in December last year.

Impressive figures, thinks Minister of Fisheries and Marine Affairs Bjørnar Skjæran (Labor). He is brilliantly satisfied.

– This shows how important the sector is for value creation, safe jobs and activity along the coast, says Skjæran, who promises that the government in collaboration with the industry will work for even more growth.

Norwegian seafood is a highly sought-after brand, even in turbulent times, the Minister of Fisheries points out. But we must be prepared for changing prices in the future. Active and long-term marketing work becomes important.

Record prices for salmon

As always, it is the salmon that sells best. But also trout, cod, saithe and haddock have had a record-breaking six months. It has not been as good for mackerel and herring – the export value fell by 10 and 4 per cent respectively compared with the spring half of last year. King crab also had a decrease of 8 percent.

Børge Grønbech, CEO of Seafood Norway, explains that somewhat less salmon was produced – the volume decreased by 5 per cent compared with the same period last year, at the same time as demand increased. Thus, prices were record high. The average price for a whole salmon increased from NOK 58.29 to NOK 87.37 per kilo.

In six months, we exported 534,500 tonnes of salmon. Poland, France and the United States bought the most.

This is not the first time we have seen record prices and record value in the wake of growing demand and declining production of Atlantic salmon globally. This is the fourth time since 2010 that prices have risen, so it is a pattern we see on a regular basis, says marine analyst Paul T. Aandahl in the Norwegian Seafood Council.

One reason for increased demand is that restaurants sell more seafood.

The war affects seafood sales

The war in Ukraine has led to changes. Exports to Ukraine and Belarus have been reduced. And the closed Russian airspace has affected shipping to countries such as South Korea and Japan. At the same time, we have sold more salmon to France and Italy.

Even though sales are going so fast, Grønbech points out that there may be some challenges ahead.

* High food inflation

* Weakened purchasing power

* Challenging logistics

* Increased costs for seafood players

* Lower supply of species such as salmon, cod, mackerel and herring

– Even though Norwegian seafood has a very strong global position and exports are constantly setting new records, it is easy to forget that the Norwegian seafood industry is also affected by high inflation and galloping cost growth, says Grønbech.

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