Demand for salmon increased in France in the first half of 2018. Photo: Norwegian Seafood Council

Demand for salmon drives record sales for Norway

A record level of seafood exported by Norway in the first half of 2018 was largely driven by increased farmed salmon sales, according to figures provided by the Norwegian Seafood Council.

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Norway exported 485,000 tonnes of salmon between January and June, with a value of US$4.211 billion.

EU markets have experienced strong growth in demand, and this has contributed to record export values ​​for several species, the Council said.

Overall, Norway exported 1.4 million tonnes of seafood with a value of NOK48 billion ($6.213bn) in the first half of 2018. This represents an increase of 10% in volume and a 4% increase in export value compared to the first half of 2017.

Increased EU consumption

“The first half of 2018 has set a record for Norwegian fish exports. Although the figures are, to a large extent, driven by salmon exports, we are also seeing the best biannual results for cod, saithe and haddock,” explained analyst Paul Aandahl.

According to Aandahl, the main reason for the value added by salmon is the increased demand from the EU. “We are seeing a clear increase in the consumption of fresh salmon in markets such as France, the United Kingdom and Italy. 

“The reduction of domestic supplies of salmon in the EU, the strong euro and British currencies have also contributed positively,” he said.

In June, Norway exported 180,000 tonnes of seafood worth NOK7.9bn ($1.020bn). Although volume was down by 9% compared to June 2017, the value was up NOK274 million ($35m), an increase of 4%.

Volume up 8%

Export volumes of salmon grew by 8% during the first half, while there was an increase in the value 4%, or NOK1.1 billion ($142m), compared to the first half of 2017. The countries that bought more Norwegian salmon in the first half were Poland, France and Denmark.

“The strong volume growth in recent months is the greatest contribution to added value,” Aandahl said.

In June this year, 86,000 tonnes of salmon were exported with a total value of NOK5.6bn ($723m). This is an increase in volume of 17%, while the export value increased by NOK333m ($43m), up 6% compared to June last year. 

The average price of whole fresh salmon in June was NOK61.79 per kg ($7.98 / kg), compared to NOK68.64 per kg ($8.86 / kg) in June 2017.

Norway exported 20,900 tonnes of trout with a total value of NOK1.4bn ($180m) in the first half of the year. This is an increase in the volume of 27%, while the value increased by NOK91m ($11m), 7% up on the first half of last year. Norway's largest trout buyers were Belarus, the United States and Japan.

In June of this year 3,200 tonnes of trout with a value of NOK234m ($30m) were exported. This is an increase in volume of 17%, while the value increased by NOK10m ($1.2m), 4% more compared to June last year.