Challenges with market access and large herring catches are reflected in herring exports for the first six months, while the price for mackerel has been higher than last year despite larger quotas.


Norway has exported 124 000 tonnes of herring and 97 000 tonnes of mackerel worth NOK 2.6 billion in the first six months of this year. Norway has exported pelagic fish in the same period worth NOK 3.3 billion. The volume increased by 25 per cent, and the value increased by 6 per cent from the first six months last year.

In June, Norway has exported pelagic fish at a value of NOK 386 million. This is a decrease of 21 per cent compared with June last year.

- The export prices for herring are lower this year than last year. This is largely due to larger herring catches and market access challenges in many of our largest herring markets, says Kristin Lien, Pelagic Analyst at the Norwegian Seafood Council.

- With Russia closed, and challenges as well in Ukraine, Nigeria and Egypt, Norway lacks good, large markets, especially for large whole herring, says Lien, who adds that improvement in market access is an important focus area for the Norwegian Seafood Council.

For frozen whole herring, the price has been NOK 8.06, down 16 per cent versus the preceding year, and for frozen fillets that price has been NOK 15.21, down 10 per cent versus 2016 prices.

Popular Matjes herring

Norway exported 68 000 tonnes of whole herring and 44 000 tonnes of frozen herring fillet products worth NOK 1.2 billion in the first six months. This is 5 000 tonnes more fillets and 9 000 tonnes more whole herring than the same period last year.

The largest markets for frozen herring fillet products so far this year have been Poland, Germany, Belarus and Lithuania, while for frozen whole herring it has been Ukraine, the Netherlands, Lithuania and Egypt. The herring quotas (Norwegian spring-spawning and North Sea herring in total) in 2017 are 66 per cent higher than last year, and the catches so far this year have therefore also been 20 per cent higher than the same period last year.

- In June, 13 000 tonnes of frozen whole North Sea herring have been exported, 5 000 tonnes more than in June last year. This herring is primarily Matjes herring for the markets in the Netherlands and Germany from producers in the Egersund area. A smaller part of the herring used as Matjes is exported to Denmark than previously, and the season started late, so not all the figures are ready yet, says Lien.

Good mackerel prices

In the first six months of 2017, Norway exported 93 000 tonnes of frozen whole mackerel and 3 000 tonnes of frozen mackerel fillets. This is 6 000 tonnes less whole mackerel than last year. The value of the mackerel exports has increased by 3 per cent in the first six months to NOK 1.2 billion.

The principal markets in the first six months have been China, South Korea and Turkey. Despite an increase in the Norwegian mackerel quota of 27 000 tonnes over the last year, this winter we have seen higher mackerel prices compared with the same period last year. The average price of frozen whole mackerel in the first quarter was NOK 12.53 per kg, 9 per cent higher than the same period last year.