In pure value terms, Norwegian seafood exporters had a banner year in 2023, posting a 14 percent, or NOK 20.7 billion (USD 2 billion, EUR 1.8 billion), increase in year-over-year trade value with overseas sales totals faring particularly well, coming in at NOK 172 billion (USD 16.6 billion, EUR 15.1 billion) – a tally that secures seafood’s position as the country’s second-largest export category behind oil and gas.
However, the Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC) said the growth was largely due to the weakened value of the Norwegian kroner, and if measured in euros and dollars the industry’s most important trading currencies the growth would be significantly less. The state-owned trade body estimates the devaluation of the kroner contributed to increasing the export value by almost NOK 15 billion (USD 1.4 billion, EUR 1.3 billion) in 2023.
The NSC said 2023 exports, in terms of volume, were down 5 percent year over year, dropping to 2.8 million metric tons (MT) with two of the country’s most important products – salmon and cod – experiencing volume declines. Other sectors also suffered volume drops, including mackerel and herring, which was at its lowest level since 2016.
NSC CEO Christian Chramer said the value record for seafood exports didn’t equate to solid bottom lines for seafood companies. Many of them face “challenging times” and are dealing with obstacles like increased costs, weakened consumer purchasing power, and a changing global competitive landscape, he said.
“Norwegian seafood still does not sell itself,” he said.
Another major challenge for Norwegian seafood companies is declining domestic seafood consumption, according to Norwegian Minister of Fisheries and Ocean Policy Cecilie Myrseth said.
“We must step up our efforts here at home because we have never eaten less fish than today. Seafood is both sustainable and healthy, so we must reverse the trend and eat more of it,” Myrseth said.
NSC Communications Director Martin Skaug told SeafoodSource that seafood consumption in Norway has been on a downward trend since 2015.
“The main reason behind the reduction in seafood consumption in Norway is likely that retail prices of seafood in Norway have increased substantially more than other proteins over the last few years,” Skaug said. “This has caused consumers to switch over to other proteins.”
Norway exported its seafood to 153 countries last year – six more than in 2022 – and that Poland, Denmark, and the U.S. were its largest markets, buying seafood worth NOK 18.7 billion (USD 1.8 billion, EUR 1.6 billion), NOK 14.6 billion (USD 1.4 billion, EUR 1.3 billion), and NOK 13.7 billion (USD 1.3 billion, EUR 1.2 billion), respectively.
Aquaculture accounted for 75 percent of the overall value of Norway’s exports, up 16 percent to NOK 128.7 billion (USD 12.4 billion, EUR 11.3 billion), and 46 percent of its volume, at 1.3 million MT, down 1.1 percent compared with 2022.
Norway’s wild-caught fish exports totaled 1.5 million MT, down 6.7 percent, worth NOK 43.3 billion (USD 4.2 billion, EUR 3.8 billion), up 8 percent, or NOK 3.1 billion (USD 298.6 million, EUR 272.7 million), year over year.
In value terms, farmed salmon continued to be Norway’s leading seafood export last year, hauling in a record value of NOK 122.5 billion (USD 11.8 billion, EUR 10.8 billion) – up 16 percent, or NOK 16.9 billion (USD 1.6 billion, EUR 1.5 billion), on 2022. Exports of farmed salmon declined 2 percent by volume to 1.2 million MT.
The average price of fresh salmon fillets exported from Norway reached an all-time high in 2022 at … 
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock/Andrei Armiagov

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