Norway's seafood exports worth NOK 151.4 billion in 2022
The value of seafood exports has increased by NOK 30.7 billion, or 25 per cent, compared with the record year 2021.
"Norwegian seafood exports have had a historically strong year behind them. It is happening in a period characterized by war in Europe, galloping energy prices, sky-high inflation, and a weakened global purchasing power. A result of the demanding and troubled times is a sharp rise in prices, which last year resulted in record high prices for important species such as salmon, cod, mackerel, trout, pollock and herring", Christian Chramer, CEO of the Norwegian Seafood Council.
"Norwegian seafood has reached another milestone. Behind the export value of NOK 151 billion lies a lot of hard work, and many share the credit. We are in challenging times with high food prices due to the war in Ukraine and the effects of the corona pandemic. Although the value of seafood exports has increased considerably, the volume has remained the same overall. The fact that exports are still doing so well shows that the seafood industry is adaptable with good people throughout the value chain who deliver products in demand. It is good news for the whole country, and I have great faith in the further development of seafood exports", says Bjørnar Skjæran, Fisheries and Oceans Minister (Ap).
The export record comes despite lower export volumes for several species, such as salmon, herring, mackerel, cod, king crab, and snow crab.
"For salmon, lower sea temperatures have negatively affected slaughter in 2022. As for our wild-caught species, last year, significant quantities of herring were used for meal and fish oil production in Norway, while we had lower quotas for cod. This is the primary explanation for the decline in volume", says Chramer.
There were many milestones in Norwegian seafood exports in 2022. For the first time, Norway exported more than NOK 10 billion worth of seafood in each of the twelve months of the year. In addition, salmon exports exceeded NOK 100 billion. It has never happened before.
"Norwegian salmon has had an annual growth in export value of 14 per cent over the past ten years. These are fantastic figures and far above the other mainland exports in Norway", says Christian Chramer.
Also, in 2022, salmon accounted for the largest share of Norwegian seafood exports, with 70 per cent of the total value. Followed by cod (8 per cent), mackerel (4 per cent), trout (3 per cent), herring (3 per cent) and shellfish (1 per cent).
"Norwegian seafood is a robust global commodity sold to 149 markets last year. Our salmon is loved all over the world. Cod trades solidly in Europe, while mackerel dominates in Asia. Clip fish is almost sacred in markets such as Portugal and Brazil - and more people are opening their eyes, and palettes, to Norwegian shellfish", says Christian Chramer.
Norwegian seafood exports have seen strong value growth in recent years. In 2015, Norway exported NOK 74 billion worth of seafood. In seven years, the value has thus doubled. Christian Chramer nevertheless emphasizes that Norway cannot take further export growth for granted in the future.
World trade is strongly affected by the war in Ukraine, an increase in trade barriers and a corona pandemic that does not let up. This is happening in parallel with consumers in the markets experiencing weakened purchasing power and competition from other nations and other protein sources hardening, says Chramer.
He emphasizes that Norwegian seafood producers are also affected by the fact that crucial input factors such as fuel and energy have become more expensive in the past year.
"Although the total value of Norwegian seafood exports was at a record high in 2022, trading conditions were demanding for many who produce our seafood. We must keep this in mind on a day when there is a lot of focus on export records", emphasizes the Norwegian Seafood Council's CEO.
In recent years, the Norwegian krone has also weakened. Since a weak krone results in higher export prices measured in Norwegian kroner, it has provided a favourable currency effect for Norwegian seafood exports and an additional boost in value.
"In 2022, however, the devaluation of the krone decreased. A stronger dollar has contributed to increased exports to the USA, while the euro has weakened somewhat against the Norwegian krone. Collectively for all markets, changes in exchange rates have contributed little to the increased export value from 2021 to 2022", says Christian Chramer.
Last year, the value from aquaculture accounted for 73 per cent of total seafood exports measured in value, while in export volume, it made up 45 per cent.
Last year, the value from fisheries accounted for 27 per cent of the total seafood export measured in value, while in volume, it made up 55 per cent.
2022 brought a new record export value for salmon. The previous record was from last year.
"The USA had the most significant increase in value last year, with an export value of NOK 3.2 billion, or 57 per cent, compared to the previous year. The export volume to the USA ended at around 66 000 tonnes, which is 22 per cent higher than the previous year", says Seafood Analyst Paul T. Aandahl with the Norwegian Seafood Council.
In 2022, there was a record-high price for fresh salmon fillets, reaching NOK 117 per kg. Some NOK 13 per kg higher than the previous record year, which was 2019.
There was also a record-high price for fresh whole salmon, with NOK 79 per kg. NOK 18 per kg higher than the previous record year, which was 2018.
The price increase contributed to most of the value increase for salmon last year.
"The reopening of society after the corona pandemic has positively affected the demand for salmon. An increase in demand in combination with a slight decrease in produced volume, both globally and our home market, is the biggest reason for the price increase - in addition to increased further processing and a weakened Norwegian krone", says Aandahl.
Last year saw a record-high export value for trout. The previous record dates from 2021.
The USA had the greatest increase in value last year, with an increase in export value of NOK 354 million, or 64 per cent, compared to the previous year. The export volume to the USA ended at 8,629 tonnes, which is 2 per cent lower than last year.
“A substantial shift towards the export of fillets instead of whole fish contributes enormously to the increase in value to the USA. The trout volume has overall varied more than the salmon and has been reduced in recent years. Despite the loss of one of the most important trout markets, Belarus, and a substantial reduction to Ukraine due to the war, trout did well in 2022", says Seafood Analyst Paul T. Aandahl with the Norwegian Seafood Council.
The price increased more for fresh whole trout (+45 per cent) than for fresh whole salmon (+ 34 per cent) in 2022.
"This is mainly due to a significant volume reduction compared to salmon", says Aandahl.
There was a record-high price for frozen whole trout at NOK 70 per kg. NOK 3 per kg higher than the previous record year, which was 2017.
Last year, set a record high export value for fresh cod, some NOK 342 million higher than the previous record year, which was in 2021.
The Danish transit market had the most robust growth in value last year, with an increase in export value of NOK 193 million, or 13 per cent, compared to the previous year. The export volume to Denmark ended at 32,213 tonnes, 12 per cent lower than the previous year.
While the export volume of wild-caught fresh cod fell, farmed cod increased from 1,300 to 3,800 tonnes.
"Measured by export value, farmed cod accounted for 7 per cent of exports last year. However, the biggest driver behind the export record for fresh cod is increased prices, due to increased demand in Europe in line with the reopening and increased outdoor consumption after the corona pandemic", says Seafood Analyst Eivind Hestvik Brækkan with the Norwegian Seafood Council.
Record-high prices were achieved for fresh whole cod and fresh cod fillets, with NOK 46 and NOK 107 per kg, respectively. NOK 5 per kg and NOK 9 per kg higher than the previous record year, which was set in 2020 for both products.
In 2022, there was a record high export value for frozen cod, NOK 868 million higher than the previous record year, which was in 2021.
There was also a record high export price for frozen whole cod at NOK 48 per kg, NOK 11 per kg higher than the previous record year, which was in 2019.
China had the greatest growth in value last year, with an increase in export value of NOK 594 million, or 83 per cent, compared to the previous year. The export volume to China ended at 29,590 tonnes, 27 per cent higher than the previous year.
"We have also seen significant growth in the export value to Great Britain, driven by increased exports of frozen whole cod. We must go back to the year 2000 to find a higher export value of frozen cod to Great Britain", says Seafood Analyst Eivind Hestvik Brækkan with the Norwegian Seafood Council.
A total of 12,500 tonnes of frozen cod, worth NOK 800 million, was exported to Great Britain last year.
The volume increased by 2 per cent, while the export value increased by 29 per cent from 2021. Sanctions against imports from Russia in the second half of the year have made Norwegian cod more attractive in the UK and may have contributed to the increase.
"Despite a turbulent and financially demanding year, the development of Norwegian seafood for the British market has been very positive. 2022 was a record year for Norwegian seafood to the UK measured in value, with a significant increase for frozen whole cod. Several other species also show increased demand and confirm Norwegian seafood's strong position in the British market", says the Norwegian Seafood Council's envoy to the UK, Victoria Braathen.
Last year there was a record high export value for clip fish, NOK 805 million higher than the previous record year, which was in 2019.
Portugal had a marked increase in export value last year, with an increase of NOK 505 million, or 27 per cent, compared to the previous year. The export volume to Portugal ended at 23,270 tonnes, which is 5 per cent lower than in 2021.
"Portugal consolidates its position as Norway's most crucial cod market. Measured by value, a whopping 33 per cent of our total cod exports went to Portugal last year. For cod clip fish, Portugal is even more dominant, and as much as 78 per cent of the export of cod clip fish went to Portugal last year", says Seafood Analyst Eivind Hestvik Brækkan with the Norwegian Seafood Council.
Brazil also had good growth in export value last year.
"There was, however, a shift towards higher clip fish exports and lower exports of cod and tusk. Out of a total export volume of clip fish to Brazil of 15,000 tonnes last year, 9,000 tonnes were clip fish from pollock, while only 3,100 tonnes were clip fish from cod, says Brækkan.
Salted fish had the largest percentage growth in value among conventional products in 2022. It was also the only product in this category with an increase in volume.
"As with clip fish, Portugal has been the primary driver behind the increase in salted fish exports. This country had the greatest increase in value last year, with an increase of NOK 619 million, or 82 per cent, compared to the previous year", says Seafood Analyst Eivind Hestvik Brækkan with the Norwegian Seafood Council.
The export volume to Portugal ended at 19,420 tonnes, 28 per cent higher than the previous year. Measured in value, 73 per cent of salted fish exports went to Portugal last year.
"We have to go back to 1991 to find the last time that over 70 per cent of the export value of salted fish went to Portugal. Last year's development shows how important Portugal is for conventional Norwegian products but simultaneously illustrates how dependent we are on demand from Portugal", says Brækkan.
As in most other countries, the Portuguese also experienced high inflation and lower purchasing power last year, while the return of tourism has contributed positively.
"We are now entering a new year characterized by considerable uncertainty around the development of demand both in Portugal and most other vital markets", says Brækkan.
However, Spain is an important bright spot. With an increase in export volume of 10 per cent, to a total of 2,000 tonnes, and an increase in export value of 41 per cent, the country overtook Italy to become our second-largest salted fish export market last year.
"Italy remains our most important market for salted fillet but had a weaker development last year. The export volume fell by as much as 40 per cent, to 1,700 tonnes, while the export value fell by 18 per cent, to NOK 122 million", says Eivind Hestvik Brækkan.
The strong demand for salted fish led to a record high price for whole salted cod at NOK 71 per kg. NOK 8 per kg higher than the previous record year, which was 2020.
To our most important dried fish market, Italy, the export volume fell by 19 per cent last year, to 2,000 tonnes. In the previous 30 years, it is only in 2020 that there has been a lower export volume of dried fish to Italy.
"In return, Norway has never exported as much dried fish to the USA as last year, either in volume or value. The USA was also the country with the greatest increase in value last year, with an export value of NOK 19 million, or 30 per cent, compared to the previous year", says Seafood Analyst, Eivind Hestvik Brækkan with the Norwegian Seafood Council.
The export volume to the USA ended at 359 tonnes, which is 4 per cent higher than the previous year.
"With a significant decrease in the cod quota this year, it is still being determined what quantities of dried fish will be produced. That may have contributed to the recent months' price increase. At the same time, the high dry fish price is a challenge in Italy. Like many others, Italians also experience lower purchasing power in line with the high inflation", says Brækkan.
The export price of whole dried cod fish was NOK 229 per kg in 2022, NOK 18 higher than the previous record year, which was in 2019. However, the price has varied a lot during the year. In March, the export price was down to NOK 181 per kg, while in December, it reached a record high of NOK 271 per kg.
Herring exports in 2022 were characterized by reduced export volume and solid prices.
"Herring catches increased compared to 2021, but last year much more herring was used for producing fishmeal and fish oil in Norway than previously. Over 140,000 tonnes of herring were used for flour and oil, compared to around 33,000 tonnes the previous year. The reason is the record high prices for flour and oil, which are due to increased costs of other raw materials, primarily from agriculture, and increased transport costs", says Jan Eirik Johnsen, Manager for Pelagic Species with the Norwegian Seafood Council.
Due to war and high energy and food costs, purchasing power in the largest consumer markets for herring weakened last year. Individual markets such as Egypt also occasionally experienced payment and logistics challenges.
"Europe, led by Germany and Poland, is the most important market for Norwegian herring, with 66 per cent of the export volume. Germany and Poland alone account for 28 per cent of the export value of herring from Norway. The war in Ukraine has affected both exports directly to Ukraine but also to Lithuania and Belarus, which have been essential transit markets", says Johnsen.
In 2021, 67,000 tonnes went to these markets, which was reduced to 46,000 tonnes last year.
Africa is the second most important market, with 29 per cent of the export volume from Norway. In 2021, Egypt was the largest market for Norwegian herring in terms of volume, but last year exports fell back somewhat.
"Nigeria is another traditionally large herring market that experienced a reduction in exports from 2021 to 2022. However, the decline to Egypt and Nigeria has been compensated by increased exports to markets such as Ghana, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Benin, and Togo. In total, almost 30,000 tonnes went to these markets in 2022", says Jan Eirik Johnsen.
There was also a decrease in volume for marinated herring products, but increased prices resulted in an export value of around NOK 360 million. Never have marinated herring products been exported at such a value.
"Poor herring fishing on Møre made the outlook for the export of herring roe poor. The rescue was landings of North Sea herring with roe by British boats in the autumn. A total of NOK 220 million worth of herring roe was exported, with an average price of NOK 79 per kg", says Jan Eirik Johnsen.
2022 as a solid export record for mackerel. The record from the previous year was beaten by over NOK 400 million.
"Like herring, the export volume for mackerel also decreased but achieved record market prices. These are solid results considering that Norway no longer has access to fish in British waters and has practically taken the entire quota in the Norwegian zone under demanding conditions", says Jan Eirik Johnsen, Manager for Pelagic Species with the Norwegian Seafood Council.
Asia is by far the most important market for Norwegian mackerel, and last year accounted for 65 per cent of export value and 62 per cent of export volume in 2022. An increase from 61 per cent in value and 58 per cent in volume in 2021.
"China had the most significant increase in value last year, with an export value of NOK 296 million, or 41 per cent, compared to the previous year. The export volume to China ended at 57,629 tonnes, 16 per cent higher than the previous year", says Johnsen.
Japan is Norway's largest and most important mackerel market. Calculations show that around 140,000 tonnes of Norwegian mackerel were exported to Japan in 2022.
"It is at the same level as the previous year. This means that over 40 per cent of the mackerel exported from Norway ends up in Japan", says Jan Eirik Johnsen.
Frozen whole mackerel set a new price record with an average of NOK 18.05 per kg. The previous record was from 2019, with NOK 17.96 per kg on average.
In 2021, capelin set a record price, at an average of NOK 16.70 per kg, following no capelin fishing in 2019 and 2020.
For 2022, Iceland set a record quota of over 900,000 tonnes. This eventually adjusted to around 660,000 tonnes, but even this volume was not fished.
"Norway had a share of 145,000 tonnes of Icelandic capelin, but very challenging weather conditions and restrictions on the fishery meant that only 92,000 tonnes were fished. The vast majority of this went to flour and oil", says Jan Eirik Johnsen, Manager for Pelagic Species with the Norwegian Seafood Council.
After three years without capelin fishing in the Barents Sea, there was again a quota in 2022.
"The quota of 42,000 tonnes was taken in one month, and here the vast majority went to consumption and thus exported", says Johnsen.
57,000 tonnes of solder were exported to a value of around NOK 550 million, achieving an average price of NOK 9.60 per kg.
King crab did not set an export record last year but decreased compared to 2021.
"This was driven by a volume decrease for frozen and live king crabs of 49 and 34 per cent, respectively. Landings were 2 per cent higher than in 2021, but the challenging market conditions took their toll", says Josefine Voraa, Manager for Shellfish with the Norwegian Seafood Council.
A weakened Norwegian krone against the dollar contributed positively to maintaining high export prices. Thus, the decline in value was only 16 per cent in total, which is the second-best year for king crab exports after the record year 2021.
Frozen king crab had a record-high export price of NOK 804 per kg, which is NOK 267 higher than the previous record year, which was in 2021. Live crabs have also had record-high prices at NOK 533 per kg. That is NOK 142 higher than in 2021.
"The export of live king crab to Asia, and especially the export of live king crab to South Korea, has significantly suffered from challenging logistics with longer transport times, increased shipping prices and less capacity to Asia. In addition, there was a greater supply of live king crab from Russia due to the sanctions against Russian crabs in the USA and Europe", explains Voraa.
This became particularly evident when the Russian red king crab fishing season started in September, and the large landings started coming into South Korea and China at lower and lower prices.
"In October, the Russian export price was down to 23 dollars per kg to South Korea and 29 dollars per kg to China, which is below what the fishermen in Norway are paid", says Josefine Voraa.
The most significant volume and value decrease have been for frozen king crab, even though Russian exports of frozen king crab have decreased by 85 per cent up to and including November 2022.
"This is due to lower demand for frozen food in the USA and Europe because consumers are less willing to spend money on luxury goods than during the corona pandemic. In addition, Russian king crab came in from the 2021 season before the sanctions, as well as an increased supply to Japan at lower prices", Voraa explains.
The bright spot in 2022 is the export of live king crabs to the USA and Canada. It increased by NOK 121 million and NOK 38 million, respectively.
"The reason is good demand for Norwegian king crab in the restaurant sector after the market and restaurants reopened. The sanctions against Russian king crab and the lack of a quota for red king crab in Alaska for the second year also contributed", says Josefine Voraa.
2022 started with optimism for the coming season after completing a record-breaking year on both the catch and export side in 2021.
The fishery was finished in record time with increased participation and landings. Still, from the very first landings in February, the market situation became more and more challenging with each passing month.
"A lot of snow crab from the 2021 season was in stock in the USA at the same time that sales in the grocery trade were weak. In an already falling market, there was also the news that Canada increased its quotas by 33 per cent, which led to a further drop in prices", says Josefine Voraa, Manager for Shellfish with the Norwegian Seafood Council.
In addition, sanctions against Russian crab made the market situation even worse.
"From January to August, the prices of frozen king crab in the USA were reduced by more than 50 per cent", says Josefine Voraa.
In 2022, the Norwegian direct export of snow crab to the USA was reduced by 61 per cent in volume and 65 per cent in value, corresponding to NOK 239 million.
"A source of good news in 2022 was that exports to Asia increased by 82 per cent in volume and 85 per cent in value. This happened despite an increased supply of Russian snow crab in Japan, China, and South Korea from both the 2021 and 2022 seasons", says Voraa.
China saw the most significant increase in value last year, with an export value of NOK 39 million, or 145 per cent, compared to the previous year. The export volume to China ended at 398 tonnes, 120 per cent higher than the previous year.
2022 was a historically good year for the supply of Norwegian cold-water prawn. Not since 2006 have more than 40,000 tonnes of prawn been landed from the Norwegian fleet, and not since 2008 have more than 20,000 tonnes of prawn been exported from Norway.
"The 27 per cent increase in value is due to increased volumes and a price increase on certain products. This is partly driven by increased demand in individual markets and inflation", says Josefine Voraa, Manager for Shellfish with the Norwegian Seafood Council.
Frozen raw industrial prawn for the industry in Iceland achieved the most significant value and volume growth. Catches there have become lower and lower over the past ten years, and the need for imports has increased.
"Frozen peeled prawn make up 63 per cent of the export value and are thus the most prominent product, with an export value of NOK 735 million. In terms of volume, exports are at the level of 2021, but increased export prices ensure that the value increased by 10 per cent last year", says Voraa.
Exports of frozen, peeled prawn over two kilos grew to the UK and towards the large consumer markets in Sweden and Finland.
The coastal fishery supplies fresh cooked and raw prawn to the inland market and Sweden.
"For this part of the industry, it has been a more challenging year, with high fuel costs, poorer catches and weaker sales in the grocery trade compared to 2020 and 2021. Last year, the export of fresh shelled prawn decreased by 27 per cent in volume and 32 per cent in value", says Josefine Voraa.
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