China hungry for salmon again, says Seafood Council

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Salmon exports held up well during July with China emerging as one of the strongest growth markets, says the Norwegian Seafood Council in its latest monthly export report.

Norway’s salmon farmers sold 95,620 tonnes of fish worth NOK 9.6bn (£736m) last month, a 13% increase in value and a one per cent increase in volume on July 2022.

Once again Poland and Denmark – two countries with large salmon processing sectors – and France were the largest markets.

But China had the largest increase in value, with exports up by NOK 230m (£17.6m) or 90%, compared to July last year.

Andreas Thorud, the Seafood Council’s China envoy said it was the strongest July growth so far, but pointed out that July last year was affected by Covid-19 closures.

He said demand was demand was particularly strong not only from restaurants but also from the grocery and e-commerce sectors which were now emerging as important sales channels.

“We also see an exciting tendency for more and more Norwegian salmon to be found in grocery stores outside the big cities,” he added.

Farmed trout sales grew by 14% in volume terms during July to 5,845 tonnes while the value rose by one per cent to NOK 527m (£40.5m) with, surprisingly, war-ravaged Ukraine one of the largest growth markets. Thailand and the US were the other main markets.

Ukraine had the largest increase in value at NOK 42m (£3.2m) or 188 % while the volume at 890 tonnes was 178% higher than a year ago.

Total Norwegian seafood exports last month were worth NOK 12.4 bn (£953m), 8% higher than a year ago. So far this year Norway has sold fish of all types worth NOK 94.4bn (£7.26bn) to countries around the world.

Seafood Council CEO Christian Chramer said the rise was larger due to a weak kroner, although the currency had strengthened somewhat last month.

The UK continued to be one of the strongest markets for frozen cod, buying 1,300 tonnes of the popular whitefish, 6% more than 12 months ago.

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