Since Norway’s breakthrough with sea-based fish farming in the 1970s, it has maintained its position as the world’s leading producer of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). Today, salmon raised in cold fjords and coastal seawaters account for more than half of the total export value of all the country’s seafood products.
Last year was remarkable for Norway’s salmon industry as it was the best year to date in terms of export value. Most of the players will no doubt look back fondly on their 2014 accomplishments, and they will also be confident in delivering similarly strong performances this year and in 2016.
Production forecasts shared by Norway’s leading producers anticipate the country’s output growing 4–5% this year to eclipse 1.1 million metric tons and to follow a similar growth rate in 2016.
Norwegian harvests are currently double those of Chile, the world’s second largest salmon producing nation.
The Norwegian salmon industry’s 2014 performance was largely thanks to increased output, sustained strong prices and high demand. Last year, it exported 999,000 metric tons of salmon, a gain of 4% on its export total for 2013. According to the Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC), these exports achieved a total value of NOK 43.9 billion (EUR 5.1 billion/USD 5.8 billion) last year, which was 11% higher than in 2013 and the previous record export value of NOK 39.8 billion (EUR 4.7 billion/USD 5.2 billion), which was in turn 35% higher than the total achieved in 2012.
The EU remained the most important market for Norwegian whole fresh salmon last year with imports totalling 720,000 metric tons, an increase of 11%. The NSC said the EU’s share of Norway’s salmon exports soared as a result of the year-long Russian trade ban imposed in August 2014.
As well as increasing their shipments to Europe, Norway’s salmon exporters were also successful in ramping up their trade with the US and Asian markets last year. The United States imported Norwegian salmon worth NOK 1.9 billion (EUR 222.1 million/USD 248.9 million), an increase of 64% on the total value achieved in 2013. Included in this total was 8,000 metric tons of fresh whole salmon—a product that, until 2012, was subject to anti-dumping and countervailing duty tariffs.
Asia, meanwhile, imported salmon worth NOK 6.6 billion (EUR 771.6 million/USD 864.7 million), an increase of 16% on the previous year. Hong Kong and South Korea were among the Asian markets that showed the most growth in demand for salmon last year.
The NSC says Norwegian salmon is now enjoyed in more than 100 countries.
From a global perspective and barring any production disasters, global Atlantic salmon production is expected to grow by around 3% to just under 2.3 million metric tons this year and surpass 2.4 million metric tons in 2016.
The global market for this product is currently valued at around NOK 70 billion (EUR 8.2 billion/USD 9.2 billion).
Pittman Seafoods buys salmon as well in Norway as in Chile, where it has its own production unit. More information on www.omegacfoods.com.