THE head of Norway’s Seafood Council has said the industry could hugely increase its wealth and job creation if more of the fish it sold abroad was processed before it left the country.
Presenting the 2018 exports figures yesterday, chief executive Renate Larsen pointed out that 84 per cent of the salmon went out unprocessed.
With so little fish being processed in the country that farms or catches it, the sector is losing around 30 billion kroner (£2.8 billion), said Larsen.
‘In 2010, the proportion of unprocessed fish for export from the white fish sector, pelagic and aquaculture accounted for 67 per cent (of output). But in 2018, the proportion of unprocessed fish had increased to 72 per cent,’ said Larsen.
‘There is a great potential for increased value creation in Norway – from increased value from the products themselves, through the efficient use of waste raw materials and the potential to create more jobs.’
Meanwhile, this week’s figures from the seafood council show that while lower catch quotas and tougher controls have led to less cod and haddock being sold, it has still brought in higher revenues.
The country exported almost 200,000 tonnes of fresh and frozen cod during 2018, a volume decline of nine per cent.
But the returns from those lower sales netted 9.4 billion kroner, four per cent more than the previous year, effectively an overall 13 per cent increase in prices.
Similarly, exports of haddock, with the UK one of the main markets, were 18 per cent lower at 62,000 tonnes last year because of lower quotas, but revenues remained more or less the same at NOK 1.8 billion, which means prices rose by 18 per cent.
Ingrid Kristine Pettersen, an analyst at the council, said: ‘In 2018, export records were broken for the whole white fish category in terms of value, with the EU our most important market.
‘There are several links in the value chain that have benefited from the rise in cod prices in 2018, some more than others.
‘The price of fisheries has, on average, increased more than the average export price in 2018. The reason for this is, among other factors, strong competition for raw material.’
The figures show that shellfish continues to be a big money spinner for the Norwegian seafood sector.
The country exported 10,700 tonnes of shrimp or prawns, worth NOK 831 million, in 2018. Export volume increased by 17 per cent, while the value of exports increased by NOK 134 million, or 19 per cent, on 2017.
King crab is the second largest species in the shellfish category. Norway exported 2,000 tonnes worth NOK 579 million, with volume up by eight per cent and the value increase almost doubling at 15 per cent.
Picture: Norwegian Seafood Council chief executive Renate Larsen