Norway exports €10 billion worth of seafood in 2020, second-highest value ever

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Despite a very challenging year, industry finishes year strong.

In a press release, the Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC) writes that the country’s total volume of seafood exports increased by two per-cent in 2020, while the value decreased by one per-cent, or EUR 144 million, compared to the record year 2019. That equates to 37 million meals every day of the year, or 25,000 meals per minute.

“Although 2020 was a different year, much of the seafood exports have managed to defy the biggest challenges in the wake of the coronavirus. We have really seen how strong Norwegian seafood stands globally and can be proud of our seafood industry, its ability to adapt quickly here at home and the strong position we have with consumers around the world,” said NSC CEO Renate Larsen.

Minister of Fisheries and Seafood Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen. PHOTO: Hans Kristian Thorbjørnsen/NFD

“I am pleased that seafood exports are again passing the milestone of NOK 100 billion (EUR 10 billion .ed) in export value. The first time we managed this was in 2019, and that this repeats itself in the coronavirus year of 2020 is fantastic,” said Minister of Fisheries and Seafood Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen.

Larsen also said that despite the difficulties, export value remained stable in 2020, making it the second-best year for Norwegian seafood exports. Demand and a weakened currency contributed to the results.

For salmon, the largest species measured in volume and value, 1.1 million tonnes were exported in 2020 with a value of EUR 6.7 billion. Volume increased by two percent, but value fell by EUR 221 million, or three per-cent, from 2019.

“The coronavirus pandemic led to increased demand for processed products for retail sales. An increasing proportion of salmon is being processed in Norway. The export value of salmon in 2020 is the second-highest on record, and volume-wise it is a record,” said seafood analyst Paul T. Aandahl of the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Paul T. Andaahl. PHOTO: Norwegian Seafood Council

It was also a good year for trout. In 2020, 71,800 tonnes of trout were exported for EUR 374 million. Volume increased by 21 per-cent, and unlike Atlantic salmon, its value increased by EUR 18 million, or five per-cent, compared to the year before.

“There have been large fluctuations in trout exports in recent years. Volume-wise, the record was set in 2008 with about 73,700 tonnes. Value-wise, 2020 is the second-highest since the record year 2016,” said Paul T. Aandahl.