Norwegian seafood exports hit record highs

The value of Norway's seafood exports was up 14.3 percent compared with 2020.

By Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer - January 6, 2022
A crab catch is seen on the coast of the Barents Sea. (Atle Staalesen / The Independent Barents Observer)

Norway exported record amounts of seafood in 2021 — the equivalent of 42 million meals every day of the year.

Fishing and aquaculture are becoming even more important than ever before in the so-called blue economy, a term relating to exploitation of the marine environment.

“2021 was another exciting export year for Norwegian seafood,” says Renate Larsen, CEO of the Norwegian Seafood Council. “We are in the very favorable position of having products in high demand the world over — even in times of crisis. This has resulted in a growth in demand, record export volumes and a total export value that Norway has never experienced before.”

The value of the 3.1 million tons of seafood exported last year was 120.8 billion Norwegian kroner (€12.11 billion), according to the Seafood Council.

According to Larsen, this impressive amount shows that seafood is one of Norway’s key industries for the future.

The increase is 14.3 percent compared with 2020 and more than a doubling over the last decade.

Cod is still the most important fish caught by fishermen, with an export value of 9.8 billion kroner (€0.98 billion), but aquaculture is by far creating the best income. Export of farmed salmon had a value of 81.4 billion kroner (€8.16 billion), the overview from the Seafood Council shows.

Europe is the most important market for Norwegian seafood, but also Asia and North America buy a significant amount of fish from Norway.

One of the most exotic species from northern Norway is the king crab. 2021 became the best year ever with 2,300 tons at an export value that amounted to 999 million kroner (€100 million), up 50 percent from 2020.

“The abolition of the quota for red king crab in Alaska combined with increased demand in Asia, the USA and Europe has led to the demand for king crab being greater than the supply, and this has led to adventurous prices globally. The export price for both live and frozen king crab has increased from 327 kroner per kg in January to 640 kroner per kg in December”, says Josefine Voraa, Manager for Shellfish with the Norwegian Seafood Council.