Norwegian salmon exports are now falling

Aslak Berge

Corona trouble at harvest facilities, declining feed sales and negative biomass development. Now the export volumes for salmon are also starting to fall.

It has been a January characterised by lower activity than normal. In the first three months of 2022, Norway has exported 78,230 tonnes of salmon (converted to round weight). This is a reduction from the same time last year. At that time, the export volume was 78,720 tonnes, according to recent export statistics from the Norwegian Seafood Council.

The figures show that the country’s largest salmon buyer, Poland, is cutting back on imports. While the Poles per week three in 2021 had purchased 10,517 tonnes of fresh salmon, this year they have been content with 6,076 tonnes. The fall is as much as 42 per cent.

Smaller fish
Last week, SalmonBusiness was able to report that the standing salmon biomass in Norway at the end of December 2021 was 868,693 tonnes, down from 897,687 tonnes in the same month the year before, corresponding to a decrease of 3.2 per cent. This is stated in figures from the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries.

Reduced biomass, ie the stock of fish in the sea, means that there may be less fish to harvest – and sell – in the coming months.

The export goes via Lerøy for SinkabergHansen. PHOTO: Tom Lysø / SinkabergHansen

January is traditionally the low season for salmon harvest, after the high season just before Christmas. This year, activity has been reduced at a number of harvest facilities, including Nordlaks, Mowi Herøy, Lerøy Aurora and SalMar InnovaMar, due to high absenteeism among employees due to Covid-19.

Increased price
However, there is nothing wrong with the demand for salmon.

And in any market characterized by increased demand and reduced supply, the underlying price will normally increase.

The average export price for fresh salmon (delivered to the Norwegian border) so far in 2022 is NOK 70.68 (€7.70). In comparison, the average price at the same time in 2021 was a modest NOK 48.92 per kilo (€4.90), according to figures from the Norwegian Seafood Council.

The salmon exchange Fish Pool’s so-called forward curve signals an average price of NOK 64.50 (€6.40) for the year as a whole. The forward price normally goes in tandem with the contract prices for salmon.

Salmon processed at Morpol’s factory in Ustka, Poland. PHOTO: Ole Alexander Saue.

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