May 15, 2020
Norway's seafood exports drop
In April, Norwegian seafood companies sold 183,000 tonnes of fisheries and aquaculture products, 30,000 tonnes lower than March and 7% lower on-year, reported SeafoodSource.
At NOK8.2 billion (US$800.7 million, EUR742 million), the value of the country's seafood trade was down NOK1.4 billion (US$136.7 million, EUR126.7 million) compared to March's revenues, and NOK666 million (US$65 million, EUR60.3 million) less than achieved in April 2019.
This was the first time since September 2018 that Norway had experienced a fall in the value of its seafood exports, and came despite a marked weakening in the kroner, the Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC) acknowledged.
"A significant fall in demand for salmon and whitefish in April as a result of the corona[virus] crisis is the main reason. This can be evidenced by the decline of the restaurant segment and increased air freight costs for the transportation of fresh products to overseas markets," NSC Director of Market Insight and Market Access Tom-Jørgen Gangsø said.
The council also highlighted that for the first four months of the year, the seafood export value had increased by 6% or NOK2.2 billion (US$214.9 million, EUR199.1 million) on-year to NOK36.7 billion (US$3.6 billion, EUR3.3 billion).
"This year can be split in two for seafood exports: before and after the corona crisis," Gangsø said. "2020 started off well with a strong increase in value due to increased demand for Norwegian seafood products. This positive trend came to an abrupt end within the introduction of measures to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, which is why we are seeing exports fall for the first time in 18 months."
Gangsø said within markets, local measures to reduce the spread of the virus had led to changes in the flow of goods, and that this was especially true for fresh fish.
"For example, we see growth in a market like Spain, while there is a decline in Italy. We also find that the corona crisis has led to layoffs and increased unemployment globally," he said. "There is considerable uncertainty about how weakened purchasing power will affect demand for Norwegian seafood in the long-run."
Last month's salmon exports totalled 83,100 tonnes, which was 3% less than in April 2019. This trade achieved a total sales value of NOK5.4 billion (US$527.4 million, EUR488.7 million), a fall of 13% compared with a year previously, with Poland, France, and the US providing the main markets. The average price for fresh whole salmon last month was NOK57.71 (US$5.64, EUR5.22) per kilogramme, down from April 2019's NOK68.45 (US$6.68, EUR6.19).
To date, Norway has exported 334,600 tonnes of salmon worth NOK23.7 billion (US$2.3 billion, EUR2.1 billion), representing increases in volume and value of 1% and 4%, respectively.
Over the same period, it has sold 19,800 tonnes of trout, achieving revenues of NOK1.2 billion (US$117.2 million, EUR108.6 million), with the volume and value up 35% and 16%, respectively.
In total, 123,000 tonnes of herring worth NOK1.4 billion and 95,300 tonnes of mackerel valued at NOK1.6 billion (US$156.3 million, EUR144.8 million) were sold to overseas markets in the opening four months of the year.
Norway's shellfish sector has found trade a lot more difficult, exporting just 457 tonnes of king crab worth NOK155 million (US$15.1 million, EUR14 million) and 3,700 tonnes of shrimp valued at NOK306 million (US$29.9 million, EUR27.7 million) over the same period.
In 2019, the Scandinavian country exported 2.7 million tonnes of seafood worth a record NOK107.3 billion (US$10.5 billion, EUR9.7 billion).