Heavy price drop: “We’re paying over the odds to buy fish and discounting to get rid of it”

Aslak Berge

After a week and a half of record highs, prices are crashing.

“The prices are dropping. We are selling at a loss of NOK 20 ($1.84/€1.72) per fish. It’s not just one krone anymore, unfortunately,” a frustrated exporter told SalmonBusiness.

“Clearly, it became too expensive. We have decided not to buy fish without having a sale lined up. There isn’t a market above NOK 140 ($12.88/€12.04). They only buy to fulfill contracts,” he said.


The exporter describes a complex market, with a high proportion of downgraded fish, fillets based on production fish, which are sold cheaper than whole fish, and whole production fish that are offered legally and illegally to foreign processing companies.

“The price for ‘production’ fish has increased to NOK 75 ($6.90/€6.45) from NOK 50 ($4.60/€4.30) a few weeks ago,” he notes.

Exporters that SalmonBusiness spoke to after lunch on Friday are frustrated and losing a lot of money.

“We’re paying over the odds to buy the fish and discounting to get rid of it,” one of them said.

“We hear customers in Northern Norway being offered fish for NOK 118 ($10.86/€10.15). There have been sales towards the end of the week resulting in a loss of around NOK 20 ($1.84/€1.72) per fish,” he admits.

A market picture with a heavy price drop is repeated by all sources. Prices of NOK 120 ($11.04/€10.32) per kilo, a decrease of about NOK 15 ($1.38/€1.29) per kilo, are consistently given.


“We’ll drop out if it goes above that. Because it will continue next week. 100% guaranteed,” says a buyer. “It looks like there will be a flat price for 3+ kilo fish. And 5+ kilo fish, which has actually been the hardest hit.”

“It’s just intense. NOK 120 ($11.04/€10.32) will be the max for us. The last trucks we had this week went below NOK 120, so why should we buy higher than what we managed to sell for at the end of this week?” he asks rhetorically.

At the same time, it’s no secret that there has been limited trading done so far today.

“There’s been little done in terms of both buying and selling. Customers out there say there’s no point buying on Friday. They get better prices by waiting. And the prices we’ve had lately don’t build a market,” he points out.

SalmonBusiness gathers spot prices for salmon every Friday after lunch, tracking fish to be delivered the following week. This process involves contacting multiple entities in the value chain, including farmers, exporters, and importers. At least five independent sources are consulted, though they may not always be publicly disclosed.


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