Norwegian salmon exports have filled a hole on UK shelves caused by lower production in Scotland. Photo: Norwegian Seafood Council.

Norway fills UK gap left by lower Scottish harvests

Lower salmon production in Scotland enabled Norway to increase its exports of the fish to the United Kingdom last month, the Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC) has revealed.

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Globally, Norway exported 84,800 tonnes of salmon worth NOK 8.6 billion (£727 million) in May, a value increase of NOK 2.7bn (47%) and a volume increase of 3% compared to the same month last year.

This made it the second highest month for Norwegian salmon exports ever, with the UK being the market with the largest increase in export volume.

Hans Frode Kielland Asmyhr: "There is significantly lower salmon production in Scotland. The Norwegian salmon has therefore taken larger market shares."

Popular dish

“Salmon is a popular dish among many Britons, and there is a very wide range of salmon products in the UK,” said the NSC’s envoy to the UK, Hans Frode Kielland Asmyhr.

“We now see that there is significantly lower salmon production in Scotland. The Norwegian salmon has therefore taken larger market shares in the grocery trade, where most chains sell fresh fillets of both Norwegian and Scottish salmon.”

Poland, Denmark and France, which all process salmon for re-export, were the largest markets for Norwegian salmon in May.

Record trout price

Trout exports also jumped in value, despite an 8% fall in volume compared to May 2021, with the average price per kilo of trout surpassing salmon last month.

Norway exported 3,900 tonnes of trout worth NOK 397m in May, an increase in value of 46% year on year. Thailand, the USA and Malaysia were the largest markets.

“For the very first time, the export price for fresh whole trout has exceeded NOK 100 on average during a month,” said NSC seafood analyst Paul T Aandahl.

“The record from April was broken and ended at NOK 102.05 per kg in May. The price of fresh whole trout was 3.56 kroner higher than for salmon in May.”

49% increase

Overall, Norway exported seafood worth a record NOK 12.4 billion (£1.05bn) in May, an increase of NOK 4.1bn, or 49%, compared to May 2021.

Increased export prices, primarily for salmon but also for other species such as trout, cod, saithe, haddock, and herring, was the main reason for the growth.

Børge Grønbech: Uncertainty is associated with future demand development.

NSC acting chief executive Børge Grønbech said the total export value up to and including May is NOK 57.8bn, which is an increase of NOK 13.2bn (30%), compared with the same period last year.

“To put it in perspective: Throughout 2012, Norwegian seafood exports amounted to NOK 52.1 billion. We have thus passed this value already after five months in 2022. It shows what an export adventure Norwegian seafood has been in the last 10 years,” said Grønbech.

High inflation

At the same time, he emphasised that the war in Ukraine is casting a gloomy shadow over the strong export growth this year.

“There is no doubt that we live in demanding times. High global food inflation and a limited supply of important fish species from both Norway and other countries are some of the factors that are driving up prices,” Grønbech explained.

The Norwegian seafood industry is also observing that costs in connection with food production are rising.

“Everything from raw materials to fuel and electricity is increasing in price. An expected rise in interest rates and a fall in real wages in many important markets are also demanding factors. There is therefore uncertainty associated with future demand development,” said Grønbech.