In March, Norway exported pelagic fish with a value of NOK 571 million. This represents a slight decrease of 1 per cent compared to March last year.
”Nearly 60 per cent of herring exports so far this year have been destined for filleting. This is 5 per cent more than the same period last year. With low herring quotas last year and strong fillet markets in the EU and Belarus, it is natural that the fillet portion of herring exports should have increased. The loss of Russia as our main market for whole herring and reduced demand for whole herring on the African market are also important factors driving the higher proportions of filleted herring”, said Jan Eirik Johnsen, Industry Analyst for Pelagic Fish with the Norwegian Seafood Council.
Popular herring fillets
Norway exported 42,000 tonnes of whole herring and 30,000 tonnes of frozen herring fillet products with a total value of NOK 795 million in the first quarter.
The largest markets for frozen herring fillet products so far this year have been Germany, Belarus, Lithuania and Poland, and for frozen whole herring, Ukraine, Lithuania and Egypt. Quotas, (Norwegian Spring Spawning herring and North Sea totals) in 2017 have been 66 per cent higher than the previous season, and catches to date have therefore been 22 per cent higher than the same period last year.
”Despite the much higher quotas, this year, we are seeing high prices for fillet products. Although prices are high, prices for whole frozen herring are somewhat lower this year compared to the record high prices we saw last year”, said Jan Eirik Johnsen, Director for Pelagic Fish with the Norwegian Seafood Council.
Good prices for mackerel
Norway exported 66,000 tonnes of frozen whole mackerel and 1,500 tonnes of frozen mackerel fillets in the first quarter. This is roughly the same total volumes as Q1 2016, but with proportionately slightly more fillets and somewhat less whole mackerel. The value of mackerel exports increased by 6 per cent in the first quarter to NOK 818 million. The most important markets for Norwegian mackerel in Q1 were China, Turkey and South Korea.
”In spite of an increase in the Norwegian mackerel quota of 27,000 tonnes from last year, we now have the winter setting higher mackerel prices compared with the same period last year. The average price of frozen whole mackerel in Q1 was NOK 11.66 per kg, or 10 per cent higher than the same period last year”, said Jan Eirik Johnsen, Director for Pelagic Fish with the Norwegian Seafood Council.
Icelandic capelin for the consumer markets
Norway exported 21 000 tonnes of frozen whole capelin for consumption in Asia and Eastern Europe in Q1. The largest volumes were exported to China, the Netherlands and Belarus. Norway has exported capelin for consumption even without a Norwegian quota in the Barents Sea. This has been possible since Norwegian vessels have fished under the Icelandic quota and delivered their catch in Norway. The average export price for capelin in Q1 was NOK 9.84 per kg, a record price and over twice as much as in the recent years when Norway had quotas in the Barents Sea.