NORWAY may be exporting less cod in volume terms this year, but its fishermen are netting more money for whatever they sell, new figures from the Norwegian Seafood Council show. And despite this, demand among UK buyers is on the rise.
Depending on whether it is fresh or frozen, the price of cod has risen by between nine and 14 per cent over the past few months.
Between January and September 2018, around 57,000 tonnes of fresh cod, including fillets, were sold overseas worth a total of NOK 2.1 billion.
The volume was down by four per cent on the same period in 2017, but the value was up by three per cent or NOK 65 million.
Frozen cod exports (including fillets) over the past nine months totalled 52,000 tonnes, a volume decline of 13 per cent, but the revenue return was broadly the same as last year at NOK 1.9 billion.
In stark terms for buyers, the price of frozen cod has gone up by almost 14 per cent this year.
Norwegian Seafood Council analyst Ingrid Kristine Pettersen said: ‘We see that the sector has increased in favour of mainly frozen whole cod, despite the fact that the quota has decreased.
‘Among the critical causes are incentive schemes that have led to increased catches out of season, as well as a record year when it comes to the life of cod.
‘According to a new doctoral dissertation at Nofima and UiT (the Arctic University of Norway), cod is keeping a very high and even quality, which is likely to contribute to price inflation, especially beyond the main (fishing) season.’
Britain is also one the main markets for Norwegian shrimp (marketed as prawns in UK stores). Around 6,900 tonnes of shrimp worth NOK 568 million have been exported so far this year – a volume rise of four per cent but a value increase of 14 per cent.
The reduction in cod and haddock quotas also means that suitably equipped Norwegian vessels are now going over to shrimp fishing at certain times of the year.
King crab exports for the first nine months were up by seven per cent to 1,500 tonnes. But the value increased by 15 per cent to NOK 437 million.