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Salmon surge helps Norway shatter seafood record

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A surge in the sales of both farmed Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout helped Norway record its best ever six month period for seafood exports.

by Senior editor, The Fish Site
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Despite a 13 percent decrease in volumes, in the six months up to the end of June, Norwegian seafood exports were worth NOK 51.2 billion – up 7 percent in value compared to the same period in 2018.

Salmon sales accounted for two thirds of the increase in export values

“In value terms, this is a new record for Norwegian seafood exports in a six month period. Norwegian salmon accounts for about two-thirds of the growth in value this half-year,” said Tom-Jørgen Gangsø, director of market insight and market access with the Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC).

Salmon exports in the first half of the year reached 506,000 tonnes, worth NOK 34.6 billion – an increase of 5 percent in volume and 6 percent in value compared with the first half of 2018. Poland, France and Denmark were the largest recipients of salmon from Norway in the first half of 2019.

“We have seen stronger production outputs of salmon in the first half of the year than was expected at the beginning of the year. At the same time, we have experienced a growth in demand, especially from the EU and Asia.

“The growth in demand, together with a weak krone, explains why we have also experienced price inflation, while volumes have increased,” says Gangsø.

One of the largest increases in demand came from China, which imported 12,130 tonnes of fresh salmon during the first six months of the year – more than was exported in the whole of 2018.

“We are now seeing considerably more Norwegian salmon making its way to China. These increased exports are mainly due to improving market access in the form of more efficient trading, as well as new manufacturers gaining access to the market. On average, about 200 tonnes more Norwegian salmon are entering China each week than during the same period in 2018,” says Victoria Braathen, part of NSC’s trade mission in China.

“If present trends continue, we can project that Norway will export more than 20,000 tonnes of salmon to China during 2019. Norway continues to strengthen its position and take an increasing share of the rising demand in the market.”

Meanwhile the volume of trout exports rose by 19 percent, to reach 24,700 tonnes, with the US, Belarus and Thailand the largest markets. There was a 20 percent growth in value, which reached NOK 1.7 billion.

"In addition to volume growth, there has also been a shift towards exports of fillet of trout in the first half of 2019. We see growth in the US market, where Norwegian trout is gaining ground, as a result of increased accessibility in both the retail trade and in the restaurant market,” says Gangsø.

“The volume increase has led to somewhat lower prices for both fresh and frozen whole fish, but at the same time we see that fillet prices have increased. Some of this can probably be explained by the fact that the Norwegian kroner is particularly weak against the dollar.”