The Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC) has reported a 2.7% volume increase in their total direct seafood exports to the UK, from 21,383 tonnes in Q1 2011 to 21,965 tonnes in the first quarter of this year.
The total value has decreased 4.9% from 66.5m in Q1 2011 to £63.2m Q1 2012. The NSC report that this volume increase/value decrease is due to much lower export prices this quarter, in particular on salmon, which has in turn led to greater consumer demand in store.
Norway, known for its cold, clear waters, has the highest proportion of MSC certified fisheries in the world, meaning a total of 73.6% of all wild fish caught and exported from Norway is now certified. This pro-active approach to sustainable fisheries management means that Norway now has the largest growing cod stock in the world, which is reflected in a significant increase in the export of fresh whole gutted cod.
· Haddock saw a volume increase and supplied 6,154 tonnes in Q1 2012 compared to 5612 tonnes in Q1 2011 – this is an increase of 9.7% and a value increase of 0.9%.
· Prawn exports were down 0,6% from 506 tonnes in Q1 2011 to 503 tonnes to Q1 2012, despite the value increasing 25.6% due to a significant price hike in Norway.
· Salmon saw an export increase of 25.9%; in Q1 2011 8,244 tonnes were exported increasing to 10,382 tonnes in Q1 2012. There was a value increase of 0.9% as the result of a significant drop in the average price on export therefore increasing consumer demand and in turn, export volume. The Norwegian salmon market, which regards the UK as its 7th largest market, was worth £31.9m in Q1 2012.
· Cod exports went down by 31.5% from 4,675 tonnes in Q1 2011 to 3,201 tonnes in Q1 2012 resulting in a value decrease of 20.5% from last year. This reduction is largely due to a dramatic decrease in exports of frozen whole gutted cod to the UK as increasing demand in China has caused a change in markets for this product group. Other product groups, such as fresh whole gutted cod, have seen export volumes increase by more than 30% to the UK, and in Q1 2012, the Norwegian cod market valued £11.3m.
The NSC sees this increase in volume exports to the UK as very positive. Johan Kvalheim, NSC Director for UK & France, said: “Despite the decrease in the value of seafood exports to the UK, volumes remain stable on all species. The main reason for this value decrease is due to recently decreased salmon export prices which were very high in early 2011. As salmon constitutes the majority of our seafood exports, when prices dropped in the last six months of 2011 consumer demand increased, sales were boosted and in turn, volume exports were up by 27.7% compared to 2010 so this is a very positive opportunity for us.”
The change in export volumes and therefore values for the different species varies because of global demands. At present, there is a strong increase in demand from Norway to Asia for frozen fish.