China delivered the biggest export hit to Norwegian salmon farmers during August, according to the country’s seafood council.
A year ago it was the largest growth market by far, but because of Covid-19 and the various scares around the pandemic, sales have slumped. Salmon exports alone to China fell by 69 per cent when compared to August last year, figures show. And it is not just salmon – other types of seafood have suffered almost as much.
Seafood sales to China in August totalled 7,600 tonnes and were worth NOK 214 million. This is a volume decrease of 43 per cent and a drop in value of 54 per cent.
Victoria Braathen, the Seafood Council’s envoy to China, said:
‘The Chinese salmon market has been affected by two waves, first in the eruption of Covid-19, and then in connection with the so-called incident at a food market in Beijing in June and subsequent media cases about corona and seafood. While the first wave affected the restaurant and hotel market, the second wave has had a broader effect on the market. We expect demand to pick up again over the autumn.’
But if China has been a disappointment, sales to France are picking up strongly with consumption increasing by 20 per cent last month. Trine Horne, the seafood council’s French envoy, said:
‘Even though France has now opened up, we see a strong trend towards continued increased home consumption.
‘Norwegian fresh salmon has a strong position in the French grocery trade, and with continued high domestic consumption, this will intensify. This autumn, the Seafood Council is running a major media campaign against French consumers, so it will be extra exciting to follow the development further.’
Salmon consumption in Italy is also thought to be on the rise.