Norway facing challenge from rival salmon countries

Norwegian seafood analyst Paul T. Aandahl

RISING volume growth from rival salmon producing nations, including Scotland, is beginning to seriously challenge Norwegian fish farmers, the latest export figures show today.

It is the main reason why salmon prices in Norway dipped below the 2018 level last month, although Norwegian output is also on the rise, says Paul T. Aandahl, analyst at the Norwegian Seafood Council.

The average price for whole fresh salmon in November was NOK 50.08 per kilo compared with NOK 60.96 12 months ago.

However, the Seafood Council confidently expects seafood exports of all types to pass the 100 billion kroner barrier this year.

Norway exported 109,000 tonnes of salmon for NOK 6.1 billion (£542 million) in September, representing a volume increase of 24 per cent, but a value increase of just seven per cent.

Once again, France and the two main processing countries of Poland and Denmark were the main markets, but China is fast coming up on the rails.

Led by fresh salmon, which is growing at 92 per cent, the council says there is a positive development across China’s seafood category.

Exports of both mackerel and king crab have more than doubled their value compared to the same period last year.

After the third quarter, exports to China tipped NOK 1 billion, making it the largest growth market for Norwegian seafood so far this year.

Victoria Braathen, the Seafood Council’s fisheries envoy to China, said: ‘This shows the strength and scope of the seafood cooperation between Norway and China.

‘More and more Norwegian seafood is being exported to China and Chinese people are showing a great appetite for a range of Norwegian seafood products.’

And there is also growing demand from South Korea, she added.

So far this year, Norway has exported 806,000 tonnes of salmon worth NOK 52.3 billion (£4.62 billion) across the globe.

This is an increase in volume of six per cent, while the value has also increased by six per cent, or NOK 3.1 billion, compared with the same period last year.

Meanwhile, the revival in trout sales which began last year continues apace. The country has exported 40,800 tonnes of trout worth NOK 2.6 billion so far this year.

This is a 30 per cent increase in volume, while the value increased by 25 per cent or NOK 516 million from the same period last year.

Last month, the figure rose by 46 per cent to 5,420 tonnes while revenues were up 26 per cent to NOK 325 million.

Frozen cod exports were also up last month, probably due to UK buyers stocking up in readiness for a no-deal Brexit.