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Norwegians Report Best August Seafood Export Sales Results Ever

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Norway exported seafood worth NOK 9.6 billion in August, an increase of 32 per cent compared with August of 2020. This was the highest value every achieved in August, according to Renate Larsen, managing director of the Norwegian Seafood Council, who noted that species including salmon, mackerel, clipfish and king crab contributed most to this increase.

“August salmon exports were the best ever,” she reported. “This was due to high volumes of production and strong demand as more hotels and restaurants have opened up in many international markets. For mackerel, the strong result was primarily due to a record-breaking start to the fishing season.”

Renate Larsen

The figures for seafood exports so far this year in general also show a solid development, as receipts total NOK 72.9 billion. This is 7 per cent higher than during the same period last year, and NOK 5.44 billion ahead of the same period in 2019.

Salmon exports by August reached NOK 7 billion, representing a year-to-date volume increase of 21 per cent. In terms of value, exports last month hit NOK 1.7 billion – 33 per cent ahead of August 2020. Poland, Denmark and France were the largest markets.

“We have never experienced a stronger August for salmon exports, neither by volume or by value. Increased tourism and a gradual reopening of the restaurant sector are two of the explanations. At the same time, we also see that home consumption is increasing in several markets, which has raised the demand for salmon compared with August of last year,” said Paul T. Aandahl, an ananyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Poland was the largest growth market for salmon purchases, while sales are continuing to rise in much of Europe.

“There is still high demand in retail channels for processed products such as smoked salmon and pre-packaged salmon portions in Germany, France and Italy. This means that sales of salmon as a raw material to the processing industry is increasing,” said Aandahl.

Paul T. Aandahl

Meanwhile, appoximately 6,400 tons of trout worth NOK 404 million were exported in August. While value increased by NOK 79 million, or 25 per cent, compared with August last year, volume fell by 6 per cent. Belarus, the USA and Ukraine were the largest markets.

Norway exported 2,500 tons of fresh cod worth NOK 94 million in August, representing a volume increase of 16 per cent and a value gain NOK 8 million, or 10 per cent, compared with the same month last year. Denmark, Sweden and Germany were the leading import markets.

Sales of cod fillets to Sweden have increased by 215 tons, or 50 per cent, so far this year. In August, exports were 76 per cent ahead of August 2020.

“It is worth noting that 21.5 tons, or 28 per cent, of the exports of fresh cod fillets to Sweden in August, were from farmed cod,” said Eivind Hestvik Brækkan, a Norwegian Seafood Council analyst.

Rising Shipments to Germany

Another growing whitefish market is Germany.

“Much of Germany’s imports of Norwegian cod have usually gone via Denmark, but in recent months we have seen sharp growth in direct exports of fresh whole cod. During the last four months, more than 1,150 tons of fresh whole cod have been exported from Norway to Germany. This is an increase of over 1,000 tons compared to the same period last year,” stated Brækkan.

Eivind Hestvik Brækkan

Stability for Frozen Cod

Norway exported 3,500 tons of frozen cod worth NOK 142 million in August, which was a reduction in volume of 1 per cent. Export value was at the same level as August 2020. China, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands were the largest markets.

Growth in Clipfish Sales

Upwards of 6,900 tons of clipfish worth NOK 359 million were exported in August, up 52 per cent over the same month in 2020.  Sales value increased by NOK 141 million, or 64 per cent. Portugal, Brazil and the Dominican Republic were the largest buyers.

“In August, the volume of cod clipfish exports to Portugal more than doubled, compared with August last year. So far this year, there has been an increase in export volume of almost 800 tons, or 7 per cent,” said Brækkan “Volume both in August and so far this year is, however, is somewhat lower than in 2019. We are still optimistic about the development in the market for clipfish in Portugal as we head towards Christmas.”

Largest Increase in Brazil

After a weak start early in the year, Brazil is now the country with the largest increase in import volume of Norwegian clipfish  for 2021. Volume is thus far more than 1,800 tons higher than 2020.

“So far this year, the export volume for clipfish of both cod and saith has increased by more than 20 per cent. In August, we saw a further volume growth to Brazil of 300 tons, or 157 per cent, for cod. Also for saithe, exports are going well. Here, export growth was 600 tons, or an increase of 202 per cent,” reported Brækkan.

In total, Brazil imported almost 1,700 tons of clipfish in August, worth NOK 83 million.

“During the last four months, the export volume of clipfish of saithe and cod has been higher than in 2019. This positive development gives optimism and belief that the country is now back on the right course,” said Øystein Valanes, the Norwegian Seafood Council’s envoy to Brazil.

Decline in Herring Exports

Norwegian exporters shipped 11,300 tons of herring worth NOK 143 million in August, as volume slipped 2 per cent and value fell by NOK 20 million, or 12 per cent compared with August of 2020. Poland, Spain and Ukraine ranked as the largest buyers last month.

July and August are typically slow seasons for herring exports, and this is shown in the current export statistics.

“We also had a somewhat weaker North Sea herring season compared to the same period last year, said Jan Eirik Johnsen, the Norwegian Seafood Council’s pelagic species product manager.

Jan Eirik Johnsen

Normalizing Market

So far this year, total herring exports are ahead of the same period in 2020, with a growth rate of 2 per cent in value and 4 per cent in volume.

“In the core markets of Poland and Germany, we are now seeing a post-corona normalization of herring consumption, and this accounts for the marked increase,” said Johnsen.

Exceptional Month for Mackerel

Norway exported a record 32,800 tons of mackerel worth NOK 463 million in August, marking a sharp increase in volume of 506 per cent and a gain in value of NOK 369 million, or 390 per cent, compared with the same month in 2020. China, Egypt and the Netherlands were leading import markets.

The last record month for value was August 2019, when sales of NOK 158 million were generated. By volume, the previous August record was 15,000 tons set in 2001. This season, however, there has been a significant quota increase.

“This year has been a record-breaking start to the season. In the last three weeks, the Norwegian fleet has made an outstanding effort, and 147,000 tons of mackerel were landed in August. The previous record was 34,000 tons, dating back to 2002,” said Johnsen.

Growth in King Crab Exports

Norwegian producers exported 349 tons of king crab in August, up 1 per cent in volume worth NOK 155 million. Value increased by NOK 47 million, or 43 per cent, compared with August of 2020. South Korea, Hong Kong and the USA were the largest markets.

“Never before has the export value of king crab for a single month been higher than in August this year. This was due to continued high demand and good prices for both live and frozen king crab for our most important markets in Asia and North America,” said Josefine Voraa, the Norwegian Seafood Council’s manager for shellfish products.

Josefine Voraa

Hong Kong emerged as the largest growth market for live red king crab in August, with an increase of NOK 40 million, or 632 per cent.

“Challenging logistics to the Chinese mainland meant that larger volumes of live king crab were exported directly to Hong Kong,” said Voraa.

Snow Crab Quota Fished Out in July

Approximately 33 tons of snow crab worth NOK 9 million were exported in August, down 73 per cent in volume.

Export value fell by NOK 11 million, or 54 per cent, compared with August last year. South Korea, the USA and Turkey were the largest markets.

The reason for the decline in exports in August is that Norwegian vessels had fished the entire quota by July of this year.

“Unlike 2020, when there was a positive development in the export of snow crab in the second half of the year, this year has seen good fishing and strong demand in the first half,” said Voraa.

In the first eight months of 2021, snow crab exports fetched just under NOK 809 million, an increase of 208 per cent compared with the same period last year.

Fall in Prawn Exports

Approximately 939 tons of prawns worth NOK 68 million were exported from Norway last month.This was down 5 per cent in volume and a decline of NOK 10 million, or 13 per cent, compared with August of 2020. Sweden, the United Kingdom and Finland ranked as the largest import markets.

Business in Britain, following a significant downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic (SARS-CoV-2), now seems to be bouncing back.

“The reopening of the hotel, restaurant and canteen sector has contributed to the UK again being the second largest market for Norwegian prawns in August. The value of our shrimp exports to the market increased by NOK 4.2 million, or 70 per cent, compared with the same month last year,” reported Voraa.