Spain acquiring taste for high quality cod

SPAIN, Germany and Sweden are now emerging as the largest consumer markets for Norway’s high quality cod, known as skrei, says the country’s seafood council.

Figures for April show that Norway exported 10,800 tonnes of fresh cod, including the higher value skrei, worth NOK 341 million.

In value terms this represents an increase of NOK 24 million, or eight per cent, while volumes were up by 625 tonnes, or six per cent.

But it is the destinations which are most interesting. Until relatively recently Spain was not seen as an automatic fresh or frozen cod market, but tastes are changing and the Spanish, who have always bought a lot of salted cod,  are now getting a liking for skrei.

The Norwegian Seafood Council said Spain, Germany and Sweden were the largest consumer markets for skrei this year, and Germany and Sweden were the least price sensitive markets.

Hildegunn Fure Osmundsvåg, of the Norwegian Seafood Council in Spain, said: ‘There is no doubt that the quality mark skrei has been a success in Spain, and that quality has been very good this year.

‘The skrei season is something that Spaniards anticipate and look forward to. Since much of the fish passes through transit countries like Denmark, the export figures alone do not tell us if there has been an increase in skrei sales to Spain.

‘However, our local sources have suggested that there has been an increase in skrei in the Spanish market this season.’

In contrast, salt cod exports are down. Last month, Norway exported 4,400 tonnes of salted fish worth NOK 202 million.

Export volume fell by 1,500 tonnes, or 26 per cent, and export value fell by NOK 46 million, or 18 per cent compared to April last year. Portugal, Spain and Italy remain the chief markets.

Herring exports increased by 16 per cent to 9,800 tonnes but the value fell by 15 per cent to NOK 104 million.

Mackerel exports were also down by 15 per cent to 10,500 tonnes and the value also fell.

Norway exported 646 tonnes of prawns, worth NOK 44 million in April. Volumes were down by 86 tonnes, or 12 per cent, and export value saw a decline of NOK 19 million, or 30 per cent year-on-year.

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