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Norway's 2018 seafood exports hit record US$11.6B



Norway's seafood exports last year broke records as volumes shipped out last year reached an all-time high of 2.7 million tonnes worth a new record of NOK 99 billion (US$11.6 billion), up 4% and 5% (or NOK4.6 billion), respectively, compared with 2017. 


"Although we did not pass the magical NOK100 billion marker, this has been another good year for Norwegian seafood exports. In summary, records were broken for Norwegian seafood, both in terms of export value and export volume in 2018", said Renate Larsen, CEO of the Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC).


She said these were achieved despite Brexit, the threat of trade wars and other challenges that "have together created unpredictability in the world market".


Seafood exports to the EU market increased due to lower competition and a favourable currency situation against the euro, while exports to Asia declined owing to increased competition and continued challenging market access to China.


Norway exported 1.7 million tonnes of seafood to the EU worth NOK66 billion ($7.73 billion) in 2018—an increase of 8% in volume and an increase of 8% or NOK5.1 billion in value compared with 2017.


Exports to Asia declines


Seafood exports to Asia decline to 478,000 tonnes worth NOK17.7 billion ($2.073 billion) in 2018. This is a volume decline of 12% and value decline of 5% or NOK1 billion compared with 2017.


Over the past 10 years, the value of Norwegian seafood exports has increased by 156%, the NSC noted.


As per Paul T. Aandahl, seafood analyst at the NSC, record export values were recorded for salmon, cod, saithe and king crab last year.


It was noted that Norwegian seafood is often imported to another country for processing before distribution to its final consumer market. Typical transit or processing markets for Norwegian seafood are Poland, Denmark and the Netherlands. 


For example, 84% of salmon, which is the most important species for Norwegian seafood exports, is exported as unprocessed product, with only 16% processed before export. Also, the proportion of raw cod material processed - salted, dried or filleted - before leaving the country has declined in recent years to nearly 58%.


Salmon exports


Salmon had the largest share of any species both in terms of export volume and export value. Norway exported 1.1 million tonnes of salmon worth NOK67.8 billion ($7.946 billion) in 2018. This is a volume increase of 5% and a value increase also of 5% or NOK3.2 billion from 2017.


"Increased demand for Norwegian salmon in the EU market has contributed to Norwegian salmon exports to the EU exceeding 73 percent, up from 71 percent in 2017", Aandahl said.


Poland was the largest growth market in 2018, with exports increasing from NOK1.1 billion to NOK 8.8 billion.


Norway exported last year 46,400 tonnes of trout, the country's second-most significant exported farmed species, worth NOK3 billion ($351.6 million). This is an increase of 16% in volume and 5% or NOK127 million in value compared with 2017.


"The volume growth of 16 percent for trout exports is the result of normalisation following low export volumes in 2017", explained Aandahl.


Prawn is the most important species in the shellfish category, as Norway exported 10,700 tonnes of shrimp worth NOK831 million ($97.4 million) in 2018. Export volume increased 17%, while export value increased 199% or NOK134 million from 2017.


King crab is the second-largest species in the shellfish category with exports reaching 2,000 tonnes worth NOK579 million ($67.85 million) in 2018. Export volume increased 8%, while export value increased 15% or by NOK74 million compared with 2017. --Rick Alberto

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