Nor­we­gian salmon ex­ports surge de­spite coro­n­avirus

Fish Farmer - - European News -

NOR­WE­GIAN seafood ex­ports last month de­fied all coro­n­avirus gloom pre­dic­tions and rose in value by 1.4 bil­lion kro­ner (£118 mil­lion), with farmed salmon show­ing a par­tic­u­larly strong surge.

Many an­a­lysts had ex­pected the sec­tor to take a hit be­cause China, one of the fastest grow­ing mar­kets for seafood, was in al­most to­tal lock­down dur­ing Fe­bru­ary.

But over­seas sales to­talled NOK 9.3 bil­lion (£784 mil­lion), a rise of 17 per cent. The vol­ume to­tal was 216,000 tonnes.

Tom-Jør­gen Gangsø, di­rec­tor of mar­ket in­sight and mar­ket ac­cess at the Nor­we­gian Seafood Coun­cil, said: ‘De­spite in­creased un­cer­tainty in the world’s seafood mar­kets as a re­sult of the fo­cus on Covid-19, de­mand for Nor­we­gian seafood con­tin­ues to in­crease over­all.

‘The great­est value growth was for salmon. Salmon has been very ro­bust against the tem­po­rary re­duc­tion in de­mand in in­di­vid­ual mar­kets.

‘The rea­son is that salmon is ex­ported to over 100 mar­kets, is used for many dif­fer­ent oc­ca­sions and is avail­able in many prod­uct forms.’

He added: ‘The ex­port of white fish con­trib­utes most to this month’s growth, driven by both cur­rency (fluc­tu­a­tions) and de­mand.’

There was a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in the value of salmon ex­ports. The coun­try sold 81,100 tonnes, worth NOK 5.9 bil­lion (£498 mil­lion), in Fe­bru­ary.

This rep­re­sents a one per cent in­crease in vol­ume but a 16 per cent – or NOK

817 mil­lion – rise in rev­enue.

More sig­nif­i­cantly, the av­er­age price for fresh whole salmon was NOK 68.99 per kg against NOK 58.87 per kilo 12 months ago.

Poland, France and the United States were the largest re­cip­i­ents of salmon from Nor­way in Fe­bru­ary.

Paul T. Aan­dahl, seafood an­a­lyst at the Nor­we­gian Seafood Coun­cil, said: ‘As ex­pected, we are see­ing a sharp de­cline in salmon ex­ports to China.

‘In Fe­bru­ary, 363 tonnes of salmon were ex­ported to China, a de­cline of 83 per cent com­pared to the same pe­riod last year. Although there is a large de­cline, we are now see­ing a grad­ual in­crease in vol­ume.’

Aan­dahl added: ‘Salmon that would other­wise have gone to China has been ex­ported to other mar­kets.

‘For ex­am­ple, we see growth of 22 per cent for fresh whole salmon to the United States, and sales to Tai­wan in­creased by 73 per cent.’

But sales to Italy, the Euro­pean coun­try most af­fected by Covid-19, fell by 14 per cent.

There are also signs that China is slowly be­gin­ning to re­turn to nor­mal. Vic­to­ria Braa­then, the Nor­we­gian Seafood Coun­cil’s fish­eries en­voy to China, re­ports: ‘Over the past cou­ple of weeks, we have seen cau­tious steps to­wards in­creased ac­tiv­ity, which we hope will lay the foun­da­tion for grad­u­ally in­creased de­mand in food ser­vice and restau­rants.’

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