Norway breaks its own seafood export value record once again

February 2024 marks three consecutive years of growth in the value of Norwegian seafood exports.
Supermarket with Norwegian seafood products in Japan. February 2024 was the 36th month in a row in which the value of Norwegian seafood exports has increased.

Supermarket with Norwegian seafood products in Japan. February 2024 was the 36th month in a row in which the value of Norwegian seafood exports has increased.

Photo: Norwegian Seafood Council.

Setting new records, new heights, best value ever... as we reported last month, the new year came with old trends for Norwegian seafood exports, and that tendency is none other than growth. In February, Norway did it again and broke its own record thanks to three consecutive years in which, month after month, the value of its seafood exports increased.

In February 2024, the Nordic country exported seafood products worth NOK 13,300 million (EUR 1,169 million - USD 1,280 million), up 3% - NOK 339 million (EUR 29.8 million - USD 32.6 million) – more than the same month the previous year.

Seafood exports' value increased every month for three years

"Thanks to strong growth in the value of salmon, trout, cod and snow crab, the export value in February was lifted to a historically high level. The value of Norwegian seafood exports has now increased every month for three years, which has never happened before," explained Christian Chramer, CEO of the Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC).

To find the last time there was a decrease in the value of seafood exports in Norway, we have to go back to February 2021. From then until February 2024, in each of the following 36 months, they have shown a value growth compared to the same months of the previous year.

In all this time, neither the coronavirus pandemic nor the outbreak of war in Ukraine - which in one way or another has affected the whole of Europe - nor the weakened economy of recent times have affected the demand for Norwegian seafood products, which have maintained a good position in the seafood market. "In addition, the combination of high global price growth and a weak Norwegian krone has contributed to the three-year value growth," Chramer said.

The big picture shows exports are currency-driven

However, despite these good results, the Norwegian Seafood Council does not lose perspective, and its CEO recalls it is the exchange rate effect and not the volumes that is helping these record growth figures. The picture is not the same if the value is measured, for example, in euros.

"The big picture is that we are still exporting lower volumes at higher values measured in Norwegian kroner. At the same time, the export value measured in euros has now fallen for three months in a row, and in eight of the last 12 months. This clearly illustrates how currency-driven exports are," stated CEO Christian Chramer.

In February, Europe was once again the most important market for Norwegian seafood products. In terms of value, 67% of exports went to the European neighbours, followed by Asia with 22% and the United States with 8%.

Salmon, trout, cod, and snow crab, the main species

Regarding salmon, February 2024 repeated the trend of recent months in which a value growth but a fall in volume has been observed. Norway exported 78,522 tons of salmon worth NOK 9.100 million (EUR 798,868 - USD 874,146). Value increased by 5% compared to February 2023, but volume fell by 3%.

A noteworthy fact regarding salmon was that last month there was a large variation in the usual development of the different product categories for salmon. "February saw a clear shift from whole fish to more processed products," Chramer explained. "The share of fillet exports has never been higher in a February before."

For cod, meanwhile, February was a historically good month for exports in value terms, although both value and volume fell by a slight 1%. Norway exported 7,696 tons worth NOK 474 million (EUR 41.6 million - USD 45.52 million). "Despite lower quotas compared with last year, there was a record high export value for both cod and skrei in February," said NSC's CEO.

Last month saw an increase in landings with a higher proportion of large cod, which left more fresh cod in Norway for consumption and processing, as much of the large cod is destined for salting. On the other hand, there was also an increase in exports of farmed cod, which accounted for 12% of fresh cod exports in February.

February was also an outstanding month for trout, whose exports grew by 40% in value and 62% in volume. A total of 4,767 tons of trout worth NOK 454 million (EUR 39.8 million - USD 43.6 million) were exported, an increase of NOK 130 million (EUR 11.4 million - USD 12.4 million).

"In contrast to salmon, fresh whole fish increased the most in terms of volume for trout," explained Paul T. Aandahl, Seafood Analyst at the Norwegian Seafood Council. Fresh whole trout increased by 118% in volume to 3,457 tons, while fresh fillets decreased by 15% to 368 tons. Frozen fillets fell 58% to 67 tons.

Finally, the fourth most important species of the month was the snow crab, which, thanks to good fishing and increased quotas, recorded crushing figures. In February, Norway exported 2,615 tons of snow crab worth NOK 285 million (EUR 25 million - USD 27.3 million). This represents an increase of 148% in value and 131% in volume compared to the same month last year.

"The growth in value is driven by a volume growth of 1,485 tonnes, as well as a small price increase for both frozen and live snow crab. In February, the export value of live snow crab reached a record high of over NOK 1.4 million (EUR 122,901 - 134,465). Five tonnes of live snow crab were exported, mainly to South Korea," said Marte Sofie Danielsen, Manager for Shellfish at the NSC.

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