Salmon Led Norway to Seafood Export Records in 2021

Frozen Whole Atlantic Salmon
Published Jan 10, 2022
It’s official. Norway hit the highest trade volume and value on seafood exports last year.
According to official data, in 2021, Norway’s seafood exports reached a new volume record by exporting 3.1M MT of seafood products worth USD 13.7B, which is also a record value. Aquaculture exports represented 71% of the value and 54% of the volume. While all of the seafood products had an upward trend in their value, farmed salmon was the most valuable product in Norwegian seafood exports, reaching a record volume of 1.3M MT and a record value of USD 9.2B. The EU continues to be the most valuable market for Norwegian seafood exports.

According to data from the Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC), Norway increased its seafood export value in 2021 by 14.3% year on year, reaching USD 13.7B for an all-time high. From the total 3.1M MT on exported seafood, 58% of the exports came from farmed salmon. As a result, farmed Salmon also had a record-breaking year, increasing its volume by 13% and value by 16%.

Aquaculture Seafood Farming is Leading the Export Growth

The NSC’s data also shows that Norway exported 1.4M MT of seafood from aquaculture operations last year, with a value of USD 9.7B, an 11% increase in volume from last year, and a 16% increase in value. With continuous yearly growth, aquaculture operations now represent 71% of Norway’s seafood export value. While all products in aquaculture farming have had constant growth, farmed salmon has become the rising export star of Norway.

Norway exported a record 1.3M MT of farmed salmon last year, an increase of 13% in volume compared to 2020 and a 16% increase in value reaching USD 9.2B. However, Mackerel was the product that had the most significant year-on-year growth, increasing 18% from last year, reaching USD 667M. Herring also had a substantial growth over the year, with an increase of 11% from last year reaching USD 475M.

Top Norway’s Seafood Exported Products:

Source: Norwegian Seafood Council.

Exports of farmed trout also achieved record earnings of USD 453M, a 5% increase from 2020 with a decreased volume of 73.3K MT exported. Despite the 12% decrease in trout exported volume, due to a fall in trout production over the year, which resulted in export volume reduction, farmed trout achieved a record high export value in 2021. The increase in value was caused by the substantial rise in price for fresh whole trout, which increased by 19% from last year to USD 6.7 per kilogram. While the price for fresh whole salmon had a more moderate increase of 4% from last year to USD 6.64 per kilogram.

Recovery of the EU’s Market Demand

In 2020, the exported value of Norwegian seafood declined by 8%, mainly due to the decrease in global demand as a consequence of COVID-19 restrictions. However, for 2021, the reopening of social activities and restaurants increased socialization, and the return of tourism activities caused the global demand for seafood to rise. High household consumption contributed to higher demand for processed products than before the pandemic almost two years ago. Additionally, the price of wholesale salmon remained steady through the year, which was beneficial for consumption, particularly in the EU.

Caio Alves, Tridge’s Engagement Director, reported last year that Norway has a week-on-week 5% growth in salmon exports mainly due to its price stability. “As the salmon demand in the US has remained flattened, there have been major increases in the UK, Korea, and Japan. An increase in demand and an overall sustaining oversupply have led prices downwards”, he mentioned. 

Source: Tridge, ITC Trade Map.

As a major seafood processing country, Poland was Norway’s primary market in 2021, taking 284K MT of seafood worth USD 1.4B up by 5% and 8%, respectively. The most significant growth market for salmon was the Netherlands, where there is also a value-added process for re-exports, followed by Italy and France. Overall, to the EU, exports accounted for 1.7M MT worth USD 7.9B, with the volume and value increasing 7% and 10%, respectively, attesting to the EU’s increase in demand.

Other markets that had remarkable growth were Asia and Eastern Europe. For Asia, 585K MT of seafood products were exported worth USD 2.7B, increasing by 20% and 23%, respectively. Exports to Eastern Europe amounted to 189M MT with a value of USD 624M, increasing the volume by 20% and value by 33%.


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