Norwegian exports down again

Paul T. Aandahl, Norwegian Seafood Council analyst

NORWEGIAN Seafood exports in value during May for the second month in succession – with salmon again taking a hit. Covid-19 is continuing to disrupt sales due mainly to the loss of the restaurant trade, although given the global scale of the pandemic the reduction is perhaps not as large as it could be.

Overall seafood exports totalled NOK 7.8 billion (£655 million), a reduction of nine per cent. Tom-Jørgen Gangsø, Director of Market Insight and Market Access at the Norwegian Seafood Council said:

‘The decline in export value is due to the loss of the restaurant segment in several markets. In addition, we are experiencing increased freight costs because many passenger aircraft that previously carried fresh seafood are now on the ground. Another element contributing to reducing export value is weakening purchasing power and considerable uncertainty in the value chain and in individual markets.’

He added that home buying and cooking of seafood had increased which made a positive contribution to sales over the long term.

The country’s fish farmers exported 85,000 tonnes of salmon in May, worth NOK 5.7 billion (£480-million). This represents a reduction of five per cent in both volume and value on May last year. The average price for fresh whole salmon in May was NOK 60.65 per kilo, compared to NOK 62.13 per kilo in May 2019. Poland, France and Denmark were again the largest recipients.

But there are encouraging signs that the worst may be over. Paul T. Aandahl in the Norwegian Seafood Council, said:

‘The 14 per cent fall in value that we experienced for salmon exports in April was reduced to five per cent in May. We also saw, among other things, strong growth in exports to France (up four per cent) and to the processing centres in Poland and Denmark, which largely supply to the German market.

‘Farmed trout exports last month totalled 5,400 tonnes, up 20 per cent, but the value fell by three per cent to NOK 295 million (£25-million). There were also lower exports of crab and shellfish, but sales of frozen cod, and herring and mackerel rose’.