NORWAY

Decline in seafood exports in the first quarter

Fish & Seafood

Norway exported seafood worth NOK 40.2 billion in the first quarter. This is a decrease of NOK 1.2 billion, or 3 per cent, compared with the same period last year.

Posted on Apr 18 ,00:15

Decline in seafood exports in the first quarter

"Thanks to a weak Norwegian krone and high prices, export value grew in January and February. However, the currency effect declined in March, while there has been a drop in volume for several species in the first three months of the year. The result was an overall decline in the value of seafood exports in the first quarter", says Christian Chramer, CEO of the Norwegian Seafood Council.

"Three consecutive years of export records clearly show that Norwegian seafood is sought after around the world. Even though we are now seeing a slight decline, there is no doubt that the seafood industry is doing well. It remains one of our largest and most important export industries", says Cecilie Myrseth (Ap), Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Policy.

Lower volume and quota cuts

The first quarter was characterized by lower salmon volumes and several quota reductions on the wild catch side.

"In the first three months of the year, significantly lower volumes of cod, herring, mackerel, and king crab were landed than in the same period last year. Reduced quotas are an important measure to ensure that fisheries resources remain sustainable, but at the same time give Norway less seafood to export", says Christian Chramer.

Value growth stops after three years

In February, Norwegian seafood exports had experienced three years of continuous value growth, compared with the same month the previous year. This streak was broken in March. The export value fell by NOK 2.2 billion, or 14 per cent, compared with the same month last year.

"While the price of salmon increased sharply in March last year, we have not seen a similar development in the same month this year. At the same time, Easter was earlier this year, which meant that there were fewer working days in March this year than last year. Both factors affected the export value", explains Chramer.

Declining food inflation

A weaker Norwegian krone, combined with high global food inflation, has helped to lift Norwegian seafood exports to new heights in recent years. However, food inflation has now slowed down.

"According to the Food Price Index of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), there has been a fall in global food prices of over ten per cent in the last twelve months. Lower food prices have probably also contributed to curbing the price development of Norwegian seafood in the first quarter", says Christian Chramer.

Growth to the EU market

Once again, Europe and the important EU market bought the most Norwegian seafood in the first three months of the year.

A total of NOK 23 billion worth of Norwegian seafood was exported to the EU in the first quarter. This is a growth of 1 per cent compared with the same period last year.

Volume growth and value records

The first quarter saw record values for the quality brands skrei, snow crab and trout.

"The volume for these three species is significantly higher than in previous years, which has helped to boost the export value. Among other things, this has meant that the value of snow crab exports in the first quarter was higher than king crab exports. This has only happened once before", says Christian Chramer.

Facts about seafood exports in the first quarter

  • Norway exported seafood to a total of 137 countries in the first quarter. This is seven more than in the same period last year.
  • Poland, Denmark, and the USA were the largest markets for Norwegian seafood exports in the first quarter.

Seafood exports in March

  • Norway exported seafood worth NOK 13.6 billion in March
  • This is a decrease of NOK 2.2 billion, or 14 per cent, compared to the same month last year.

Fall in volume and value for salmon

  • Norway exported 246,560 tonnes of salmon worth NOK 27.9 billion in the first quarter.
  • The value fell by NOK 709 million, or 2 per cent, compared to the first quarter last year.
  • Volume fell by 6 per cent.
  • Poland, France, and Denmark were the largest markets for salmon in the first quarter.

"The fall in value for salmon is primarily due to reduced production and lower harvest volumes. This is partly due to lower sea temperatures compared with the same period last year. Increased exports of fillets at the expense of whole fish also contributed to the fall in volume", says Paul T. Aandahl, Seafood Analyst at the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Swedes are eating more salmon

Salmon exports to Sweden received a boost in terms of value in the first quarter. The increase is particularly strong for frozen fillets.

"We see that Swedish consumers are eating more salmon again, and the trend is positive. Above all, they are buying more frozen salmon for home consumption. This is gratifying and is probably primarily because many people want to eat healthier", says Charlotte Rapp, Country Manager for Sweden with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Highest value growth in Denmark

Denmark saw the largest value growth in the first quarter, with an increase in export value of NOK 142 million, or 7 per cent, compared with the first quarter last year.

The export volume to Denmark ended at 24,022 tons, which is 8 per cent higher than the first quarter last year.

Salmon exports in March

  • Norway exported 81,900 tonnes of salmon worth NOK 9.3 billion in March.
  • The value fell by NOK 1.8 billion, or 16 per cent, compared to March last year.
  • Volume fell by 12 per cent compared to March last year.

Record quarter for trout

  • Norway exported 13,942 tonnes of trout worth NOK 1.4 billion in the first quarter.
  • The value increased by NOK 273 million, or 25 per cent, compared to the first quarter last year.
  • That's a 39 per cent growth in volume.
  • Ukraine, USA and Thailand were the largest markets for trout in the first quarter.

“Increased focus on trout has resulted in growth in production volume and export volume in the first three months of the year. While there was growth for fresh fillets for salmon, it is fresh whole fish that is increasing within the trout category", says Paul T. Aandahl, Seafood Analyst at the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Highest value growth in Ukraine

Ukraine saw the largest value growth in the first quarter, with an increase in export value of NOK 218 million, or 407 per cent, compared to the first quarter last year.

The export volume to Ukraine ended at 3,076 tonnes, which is 374 per cent higher than the first quarter last year.

Trout exports in March

  • Norway exported 4,700 tonnes of trout worth NOK 488 million in March
  • The value increased by NOK 20 million, or 4 per cent, compared to March last year.
  • This is a growth in volume of 18 per cent.

Decline for fresh cod

  • Norway exported 18,454 tonnes of fresh cod worth NOK 1.2 billion in the first quarter.
  • The value fell by NOK 181 million, or 13 per cent, compared to the first quarter last year.
  • Volume fell by 19 per cent.
  • Denmark, the Netherlands, and Spain were the largest markets for fresh cod in the first quarter.

With a reduction in the cod quota, landings of fresh cod in the first quarter were significantly lower than last year. This also resulted in lower export volumes.

For fresh wild cod, the export volume fell by 22 per cent, or 4,400 tonnes, to a total of 15,200 tons, while the value fell 18 per cent, to NOK 994 million.

Lowest export volume in 12 years

"We have to go back to 2012 to find a lower export volume of fresh wild cod in a first quarter", says Seafood Analyst Eivind Hestvik Brækkan with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Fresh farmed cod increased by 6 per cent in volume, or 180 tonnes, to a total of 3,250 tonnes. Export value increased by 23 per cent, to NOK 180 million.

"In terms of value, farmed cod accounted for 15 per cent of fresh cod exports in the first quarter", explains Brækkan.

Highest value growth in Spain

Spain had the largest value growth in the first quarter, with an increase in export value of NOK 38 million, or 32 per cent, compared to the first quarter last year.

The export volume to Spain ended at 2,523 tonnes, which is 28 per cent higher than the first quarter last year.

"While both wild and farmed cod increased in volume to Spain in the first quarter, it was wild cod that increased the most, with a volume growth of 47 per cent, to a total of 1,530 tonnes. Farmed cod accounted for 40 per cent of the export value of fresh cod to Spain in the first quarter", says Eivind Hestvik Brækkan.

Exports of fresh cod in March

  • Norway exported 7,500 tonnes of fresh cod worth NOK 481 million in March.
  • The value fell by NOK 160 million, or 25 per cent, compared to March last year.
  • Volume fell by 33 per cent compared to March last year.

Record quarter for skrei

  • Norway exported 4,080 tonnes of skrei worth NOK 278 million in the first quarter.
  • The value increased by NOK 35 million, or 14 per cent, compared to the first quarter last year.
  • This is a growth in volume of 16 per cent.
  • Denmark, Spain and Sweden were the largest markets for skrei in the first quarter.

There was a record high export value for skrei in a single quarter, NOK 34 million higher than the previous record quarter, which was in the first quarter of 2020.

"The export volume is also significantly higher than in previous years. We must go back to 2020 to find a previous quarter with a higher export volume of skrei", says seafood analyst Eivind Hestvik Brækkan of the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Strong growth to Spain

Spain saw the largest value growth in the first quarter, with an increase in export value of NOK 36 million, or 66 per cent, compared with the same period last year.

The export volume to Spain ended at 1,452 tons, which is 64 per cent higher than the first quarter last year.

"With one month left of the cod season, we have already achieved a record export volume for direct exports of cod to Spain. The previous record was in 2020, when the export volume for the entire cod season ended at 1,280 tonnes", explains Brækkan.

How cod exports played out in March

  • Norway exported 1,600 tonnes of skrei worth NOK 102 million in March.
  • The value fell by NOK 6 million, or 6 per cent, compared to March last year.
  • Volume fell by 7 per cent compared to March last year.

Fall in value for frozen cod

  • Norway exported 18,583 tonnes of frozen cod worth NOK 1 billion in the first quarter.
  • The value fell by NOK 28 million, or 3 per cent, compared to the first quarter last year.
  • This is a growth in volume of 1 per cent.
  • The UK, Vietnam and China were the largest markets for frozen cod in the first quarter.

The UK continues to be our largest market for frozen cod, with an increase in export volume of 310 tonnes in the first quarter, or 8 per cent, while exports to China continue to fall.

Record low volume to China

"We have to go back to 2010 to find a first quarter with a lower export volume to China", says Seafood Analyst Eivind Hestvik Brækkan of the Norwegian Seafood Council.

The export volume to China ended at 4,000 tonnes, which is 1,000 tonnes lower than the first quarter last year.

Highest value growth in Vietnam

"Vietnam was the country with the highest value growth in the first quarter, with an increase in export value of NOK 140 million, or 262 per cent, compared to the first quarter last year", explains Brækkan.

The export volume to Vietnam ended at 4,062 tonnes, which is 262 per cent higher than the first quarter last year. This is the highest export volume of frozen cod to Vietnam ever in a single quarter.

Exports of frozen cod in March

  • Norway exported 5,500 tonnes of frozen cod worth NOK 320 million in March
  • The value increased by NOK 15 million, or 5 per cent, compared to March last year.
  • The volume is unchanged from March last year.

Weak quarter for clipfish

  • Norway exported 19,525 tonnes of clipfish worth NOK 1.2 billion in the first quarter.
  • The value fell by NOK 170 million, or 12 per cent, compared to the first quarter last year.
  • Volume fell by 9 per cent.
  • Portugal, Brazil and the Dominican Republic were the largest markets for clipfish in the first quarter.

The export volume for clipfish of cod increased by 1 per cent, or 60 tonnes, to a total of 4,890 tonnes in the first quarter. Export value increased by 5 per cent, to NOK 571 million.

Falling prices for saithe clipfish

The volume of saithe clipfish fell by 10 per cent, or 1,480 tonnes, to a total of 12,860 tonnes. The export value fell 23 per cent to NOK 529 million.

"The average export price for saithe clipfish ended at NOK 41, which is the lowest since the first quarter of 2022. Saithe clipfish has now experienced falling prices in the last three quarters", says Seafood Analyst Eivind Hestvik Brækkan with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Positive development in Portugal

Exports to our largest clipfish market, Portugal, developed positively in the first quarter.

"Portugal was the country with the highest value growth in the first quarter, with an increase in export value of NOK 56 million, or 17 per cent, compared to the first quarter last year", explains Brækkan.

Tension related to the effect of VAT cuts

The export volume to Portugal ended at 3,459 tonnes, which is 15 per cent higher than in the first quarter of last year. Of this, 97 per cent was cod clipfish.

"The authorities' temporary VAT cut on clipfish and a number of other food products expired in the new year, and there has been uncertainty about how this would affect grocery prices and consumption in 2024", says Trond Rismo, the Norwegian Seafood Council's envoy to Portugal.

High prices can affect consumption

He is now eagerly awaiting the results of the Easter sales.

“Even though increased export volumes in the first quarter give reason for optimism, we still expect high prices to affect consumption. At the same time, Portugal's central bank has raised its expectations for economic development in 2024, which will be positive for demand for clip fish," explains Rismo.

Clipfish exports in March

  • Norway exported 5,100 tonnes of clipfish worth NOK 322 million in March
  • The value fell by NOK 111 million, or 26 per cent, compared to March last year.
  • Volume fell by 21 per cent.

Value growth for salted fish

  • Norway exported 6,697 tonnes of salted fish worth NOK 537 million in the first quarter.
  • The value increased by NOK 42 million, or 8 per cent, compared to the first quarter last year.
  • This is a growth in volume of 1 per cent.
  • Portugal, Greece, and Spain were the largest markets for salted fish in the first quarter.

Even with the quota reduction, the export volume for salted cod is at the same level as in the first quarter of last year.

A higher proportion of large cod in this year's landings, which are largely used for salting, and good demand in the markets are contributing positively.

Increased capital costs and high raw material prices

"At the same time, increased capital costs and high raw material prices contribute to uncertainty for producers of both salted fish and other conventional products", says Seafood Analyst Eivind Hestvik Brækkan with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Portugal saw the largest value growth in the first quarter, with an increase in export value of NOK 48 million, or 16 per cent, compared to the first quarter last year.

The export volume to Portugal ended at 3,547 tonnes, which is 3 per cent lower than the first quarter last year.

Saltfish exports in March

  • Norway exported 3,100 tonnes of salted fish worth NOK 307 million in March
  • The value increased by NOK 30 million, or 11 per cent, compared to March last year.
  • Volume fell by 10 per cent compared to March last year.

Weak quarter for stockfish

  • Norway exported 1,062 tonnes of stockfish worth NOK 274 million in the first quarter.
  • The value fell by NOK 6 million, or 2 per cent, compared to the first quarter last year.
  • Volume fell by 10 per cent.
  • Italy, Croatia, and Nigeria were the largest markets for stockfish in the first quarter.

Stockfish exports in March

  • Norway exported 239 tonnes of stockfish worth NOK 58 million in March.
  • The value fell by NOK 25 million, or 30 per cent, compared to March last year.
  • Volume fell by 25 per cent.

Decline for herring

  • Norway exported 62,778 tonnes of herring worth NOK 1.1 billion in the first quarter.
  • The value fell by NOK 139 million, or 11 per cent, compared to the first quarter last year.
  • Volume fell by 23 per cent.
  • Poland, Denmark and Lithuania were the largest markets for herring in the first quarter.

Total landings of herring fell from 170,000 tonnes in the first quarter of last year to 96,000 tonnes in the same period this year.

Expected development

"This is a decline of 44 per cent, which also explains the decline in exports. "This development is expected given that the quota for NVG herring, which is mainly fished during this period, decreased by 130,000 tonnes or 35 per cent from last year to this year", says Jan Eirik Johnsen, Manager for Pelagic Species with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Prices have stagnated

Reduced supply, good demand and a weak krone have driven up the prices of herring products for some time.

"However, it now appears that the prices of several key products have stagnated, and some products have even fallen slightly", Johnsen explains.

Herring exports in March

  • Norway exported 25,400 tonnes of herring worth NOK 370 million in March
  • The value fell by NOK 30 million, or 8 per cent, compared to March last year.
  • Volume fell by 3 per cent.

Mackerel exports in the first quarter

  • Norway exported 46,895 tonnes of mackerel worth NOK 1.1 billion in the first quarter.
  • The value fell by NOK 320 million, or 23 per cent, compared to the first quarter last year.
  • Volume fell by 35 per cent.
  • South Korea, Vietnam and Japan were the largest markets for mackerel in the first quarter.

As with herring, there are also reduced catches of mackerel because of reduced quotas.

The UK has introduced restrictions

"It is mainly foreign boats that land mackerel in Norway in the first quarter, and the UK has introduced a restriction on the proportion of the quota a boat can land abroad. This, together with a reduced quota, meant that landings in Norway fell from 48,000 tonnes in the first quarter of last year to 35,000 tonnes in the same period this year, a decrease of 27 per cent", says Jan Eirik Johnsen, Manager for Pelagic Species with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Prices are stagnating

In the same way that reduced supply and good demand have increased the prices of herring, the same factors have applied to mackerel, resulting in record-high prices, both in Norwegian kroner and in the currencies of the main buying countries (Japan and South Korea).

"As with herring, we are now seeing prices stagnate and fall slightly from February to March", says Jan Eirik Johnsen.

Mackerel exports in March

  • Norway exported 9,900 tonnes of mackerel worth NOK 238 million in March
  • The value fell by NOK 79 million, or 25 per cent, compared to March last year.
  • Volume fell by 36 per cent compared to March last year.

Fall in volume and value for king crab

  • Norway exported 380 tons of king crab worth NOK 216 million in the first quarter.
  • The value fell by NOK 28 million, or 12 percent, compared with the first quarter last year.
  • Volume fell by 22 per cent.
  • The US, Canada and Spain were the largest markets for king crab in the first quarter.

The volume decline is due to lower landings because of lower quotas and challenging fishing conditions at the start of the year.

Extended closed season

"In addition, the closed season for king crab has been extended to both March and April, whereas last year it was only in April. As a result, only 34 tonnes were exported in March, which is a decrease of 78 per cent", says Marte Sofie Danielsen, Head of Shellfish at the Norwegian Seafood Council.

With lower availability and increased demand in markets that do not import Russian crab, prices for live and frozen king crab have started to increase again.

For live king crab, the record price from February was broken in March, with a price of NOK 681.47 per kg. The price of frozen king crab in a March month is historically high at NOK 750.53 per kg, only beaten by March 2022.

Increased demand for frozen king crab in the US

"The share of exports of frozen king crab has increased from 23 percent to 43 per cent in the first quarter compared with the same period last year. This is mainly due to increased demand for frozen king crab in the US, as last year they had filled up their stocks of Russian crab before the sanctions came into force, but which are now almost empty", Danielsen explains.

The US was the largest market for both frozen and live king crab in the first quarter and had the highest value growth compared to the same period last year.

In total, exports to the USA amounted to NOK 125 million, an increase of NOK 50 million, or 66 per cent.

The export volume to the US ended at 210 tons, which is 42 per cent higher than the first quarter last year.

King crab exports in March

  • Norway exported 34 tonnes of king crab worth NOK 24 million in March
  • The value fell by NOK 60 million, or 72 per cent, compared to March last year.
  • Volume fell by 78 per cent compared to March last year.

Record high export value for snow crab

  • Norway exported 4,511 tonnes of snow crab worth NOK 495 million in the first quarter.
  • The value increased by NOK 200 million, or 68 per cent, compared to the first quarter last year.
  • That's a 59 per cent growth in volume.
  • USA, Denmark and the Netherlands were the largest markets for snow crab in the first quarter.

This is a record high export value for snow crab in a single quarter, NOK 73 million higher than the previous record quarter, which was in the second quarter of 2021.

Increased landings and increased exports

"The record value is primarily due to an increase in both landings and exports. Snow crab fishing was stopped with effect from March 19. Never has the fishing season been so short. When the quota has also increased from 7,117 to 9,753 tonnes this year, a record high volume was exported in the first quarter", says Marte Sofie Danielsen, Head of Shellfish at the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Historically low prices

In February and March, the average price of frozen snow crab also increased by NOK 7.25 per kg, or 7 per cent.

"This is a positive development, despite the fact that the price is still at a historically low level. The average price of frozen snow crab in the first quarter was NOK 109.42 per kg", says Danielsen.

USA is the largest market

The US was the largest market for Norwegian snow crab in the first quarter, with a total value of NOK 177 million, which is an increase of 27 per cent compared to the same period last year.

"The biggest snow crab fishery in Canada doesn't start until April, and this helps to boost demand in the US for Norwegian snow crab at the start of the year", says Marte Sofie Danielsen.

Snow crab exports to Europe also more than doubled in the first quarter compared with last year. This has mainly gone to Denmark and the Netherlands, which are hub and processing markets.

Snow crab exports in March

  • Norway exported 1,800 tonnes of snow crab worth NOK 200 million in March
  • The value increased by NOK 54 million, or 37 per cent, compared to March last year.
  • This is a 26 per cent growth in volume compared to March last year.

Growth in volume and value for prawn

  • Norway exported 4,340 tonnes of prawn worth NOK 286 million in the first quarter.
  • The value increased by NOK 15 million, or 5 per cent, compared to the first quarter last year.
  • This is a growth in volume of 6 per cent.
  • Sweden, Denmark, and the UK were the largest markets for prawn in the first quarter.

In the first quarter, frozen peeled prawn were the largest product in terms of value. There was a 27 per cent decrease in the export value of frozen peeled prawn in packs of more than 2 kg, which mainly go to the UK and large-scale catering in Sweden.

Sweden is the largest market

"However, there has been a 7 per cent increase in exports of frozen peeled prawn in packs of less than 2 kg, which have mostly gone to retailers in Sweden", says Marte Sofie Danielsen, Head of Shellfish at the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Sweden was the largest market for Norwegian prawn in the first quarter, with an export value of NOK 77 million. This is a decrease of 7 per cent, which is due to lower volumes in total, but also lower prices for frozen peeled prawn.

The production and export of frozen cooked shell-on prawn continues to increase.

"The biggest growth in value is for frozen cooked shell-on prawn, with an increase of 505 per cent compared to the first quarter last year. In total, frozen, cooked shell-on prawn were exported to a value of NOK 84.8 million in the first quarter", says Danielsen.

Denmark has the strongest growth

In the first quarter, the hub market Denmark was the largest market for frozen cooked shell-on prawn.

Because of this, Denmark is also the largest growth market for prawn in the first quarter, with an increase in export value of NOK 31 million, or 139 per cent.

The export volume to Denmark ended at 967 tonnes, which is 104 per cent higher than the first quarter last year.

Prawn exports in March

  • Norway exported 1,100 tonnes of prawn worth NOK 89 million in March
  • The value fell by NOK 5 million, or 5 per cent, compared to March last year.
  • Volume fell by 19 per cent compared to March last year.

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