Salmon price slump halts Norway export boom

Frozen whole salmon

The Norwegian seafood export boom which has been making headlines for the past few years has ground to a halt.

Figures from the country’s Seafood Council, published today, show that overseas sales in the first six months of this year totalled NOK 80.6 billion (£6bn) but fell by NOK 1.6 billion (£118m) or 2% on the same period last year. Poor June sales were the main factor.

The Seafood Council put a brave face on the news, saying that although there was no growth in value during the first half of this year, it still represents the second highest figure recorded in terms of value. Only 2023 was better.

CEO Christian Chramer said: “A weak Norwegian krone and high prices for cod and salmon boosted value in the first five months of the year. However, the growth stopped in June, which is largely driven by falling salmon prices.”

Fisheries and Oceans Minister Marianne Sivertsen Næss added: “Despite the downturn, the seafood industry is delivering strong figures with the second-best half-year figures ever.

“Nevertheless, weakened purchasing power in key markets, lower export volumes and increased competition from other seafood nations is something we must take very seriously.”

Chramer said salmon still accounts for 70% of the total value of Norwegian seafood exports, so when the price of fresh whole salmon fell by as much as NOK 31 (per kg) in June compared with the previous month, it had a major impact on the total value.

Salmon grew in value for 36 consecutive months before stalling in March this year. In the first half of the year, the value fell by NOK 1.8 billion (£133m) , or 3%, compared with the same period in 2023.

Chramer added: “The situation was demanding in the first half of the year. Biological challenges resulted in lower harvesting volumes and a change in product composition towards more fillets.

“In June, global competition from other producer countries also increased, which had a negative impact on prices. The battle for salmon customers has now really intensified.”

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