Norway salmon biomass continues to rise
PRICES may have see-sawed sharply in recent weeks, but Norway’s salmon biomass is continuing to increase, according to the latest data.
Seafood Norway, which represents most salmon farming companies, reports that the volume of salmon in cages at the country’s fish farms, as measured by weight, rose by six per cent year-on-year in June.
The quantity was estimated at 636,000 tonnes, a rise of 8,000 tonnes on the previous month. Norway’s biomass has been moving upwards at a steady rate since the beginning of the year.
Salmon prices have fallen quite sharply in the past two months, but this appears to be a trend during the summer holiday season when many farms draw back on production, often just to catch up on maintenance. Analysts believe that over the long term, demand for salmon is growing faster than supply, which is why the industry is not unduly concerned about short term fluctuations.
The industry also hedges itself through such situations with forward contracts. Exports, especially into Europe, are running at record levels in revenue terms. In fact, seafood exports during the first half of 2018 have hit an all-time record, driven by salmon and a surge in demand from EU countries, including the UK.
Paul Aandahl, analyst at the Norwegian Seafood Council, said: ‘The main increase in salmon demand has come from the EU. We have also seen a clear increase in the consumption of fresh salmon in markets such as France, the UK and Italy.’
Salmon exports for the first seven months of 2018 reached 572,000 tonnes with a value of NOK 37.8 billion, the volume up by nine per cent and value up by four per cent on the same period last year. Poland and France remain the largest overseas markets. The Oslo Stock Exchange, where most Norwegian salmon farming companies are listed, is in buoyant mood. After a fairly sluggish start to the year, the Seafood Index has been the fastest riser with an increase of 41.6 per cent. But prices have fluctuated wildly during the first half of this year, varying from 52 kroners a kilo up to NOK 80 per kilo just three months ago.
The Norwegian Seafood Council believes that growth and prices will be dictated by strong demand from Asian countries such as China.
Above: Paul Aandahl