2022 new record year for Norway’s seafood exports

The Norwegian Seafood Council reported 2022 was the best year ever for Norwegian seafood exports. Photo: Christian Chramer.
The Norwegian Seafood Council reported 2022 was the best year ever for Norwegian seafood exports. Photo: Christian Chramer.

2022 marked a new record year for Norway's seafood exports, which reached a value of NOK 151.400 million (€14.256 million / $15.136 million). That means that the value of exports increased by NOK 30.700 million (€2.885 million / $3.060 million), up 25% compared to 2021 which, in turn, had set the previous record year. Norway exported a total of 2.9 million tons of seafood products, the equivalent of 40 million meals every day, throughout the year.

Challenging times

"Norwegian seafood exports have had a historically strong year behind them", said Christian Chramer. But while the total value of Norwegian seafood exports may have reached an all-time high in 2022, the CEO of the Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC) also noted that trading conditions have been demanding for many producers in a period characterized by war in Europe, soaring energy prices, sky-high inflation and weakened global purchasing power. "A result of the demanding and troubled times is a sharp rise in prices, which last year resulted in record high prices for important species such as salmon, cod, mackerel, trout, pollock and herring", he claimed.

For his part, Bjørnar Skjæran, Norway's Fisheries and Oceans Minister, said that Norwegian seafood has reached another milestone and, like Chramer, stressed the importance of doing so in a difficult situation. "Behind the export value of NOK 151 billion lies a lot of hard work, and many share the credit", he said. "We are in challenging times with high food prices due to the war in Ukraine and the effects of the corona pandemic. Although the value of seafood exports has increased considerably, the volume has remained the same overall. The fact that exports are still doing so well shows that the seafood industry is adaptable with good people throughout the value chain who deliver products in demand. It is good news for the whole country, and I have great faith in the further development of seafood exports", he concluded.

Taking nothing for granted

The minister has reason to trust. According to the NSC report, the value of Norwegian seafood exports has doubled in the last seven years. However, Christian Chramer emphasized that Norway cannot take such growth for granted in the future. As the Norwegian Seafood Council CEO recalled, world trade is strongly affected not only by the war in Ukraine but also by other aspects such as increased trade barriers or a corona pandemic that does not let up. All this, moreover, is in parallel with consumers in the markets experiencing weakened purchasing power and competition from other nations and other protein sources hardening.

Chramer also recalled the role that a weakened Norwegian krone has played in these results and that it has provided a favorable currency effect for Norwegian seafood exports and an additional increase in value. "In 2022, however, the devaluation of the krone decreased. A stronger dollar has contributed to increased exports to the USA, while the euro has weakened somewhat against the Norwegian krone. Collectively for all markets, changes in exchange rates have contributed little to the increased export value from 2021 to 2022", said NSC's CEO.

Christian Chramer, CEO of the Norwegian Seafood Council. Photo: Norwegian Seafood Council.

Many milestones achieved, despite lower export volumes

In 2022, for the first time in its history, Norway exported more than NOK 10.000 million (€937 million / $995 million) in each of the twelve months of the year. In addition, salmon exports exceeded NOK 100.000 million (€9.375 million / $9.953 million). This had never happened before. "Norwegian salmon has had an annual growth in export value of 14 per cent over the past ten years. These are fantastic figures and far above the other mainland exports in Norway", claimed Christian Chramer.

However, despite the record figures – which we have been learning month after month and quarter after quarter -, the Norwegian Seafood Council report also recalls that this has been achieved despite lower export volumes of several species such as salmon, herring, mackerel, cod, king crab, and snow crab. "For salmon, lower sea temperatures have negatively affected slaughter in 2022. As for our wild-caught species, last year, significant quantities of herring were used for meal and fish oil production in Norway, while we had lower quotas for cod. This is the primary explanation for the decline in volume", Chramer added.

Aquaculture and salmon on top

If we divide this lower export volume between aquaculture and fisheries, the former accounted for 45% compared to 55% for the latter. However, aquaculture accounted for 73% of total seafood exports measured by value, compared to 27% for fisheries. In 2022 salmon accounted for 70% of the total value of Norwegian seafood exports. It was followed by cod (8 %), mackerel (4 %), trout (3 %), herring (3 %) and shellfish (1 %).

Compared to 2021, these were the largest species in 2022:
– Salmon: NOK 105.8 billion (+30%)
– Cod: NOK 12.2 billion (+25%)
– Mackerel: NOK 6.3 billion (+7%)
– Trout: NOK 5 billion (+24%)
– Herring: NOK 3.9 billion (-9%)
– Saithe: NOK 3.6 billion (+44%)

"Norwegian seafood is a robust global commodity sold to 149 markets last year. Our salmon is loved all over the world. Cod trades solidly in Europe, while mackerel dominates in Asia. Clip fish is almost sacred in markets such as Portugal and Brazil – and more people are opening their eyes, and palettes, to Norwegian shellfish", said Christian Chramer.

About Norwegian Seafood Council

The Norwegian Seafood Council is a public company owned by Norway's Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries that works with the fishing and aquaculture industries in the country to develop markets for Norwegian seafood products through local market intelligence, market development, and reputational risk management. The NSC is based in Tromsø and maintains local representatives in twelve of Norway's most important international markets. The Norwegian fishing industry finances its activities through a tariff on all Norwegian seafood exports.

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