Mackerel swimming in the ocean

Export Values for Norwegian Seafood Reached New Heights in 2021

Together, export values of herring and mackerel exceeded NOK 1 billion last year. 

2021 was another year in which the export values of Norwegian seafood reached new heights. Export values of Atlantic mackerel reached 5,9 billion NOK last year, a new milestone and a 18% increase from the year before. The strong result was caused by a significant increase in volumes which, despite a decrease in average prices, lifted the exported values. The mackerel season started early this year as the lack of a fishery agreement with UK forced the Norwegian fleet to catch their share in Norwegian waters instead of UK waters. Large volumes and an early start pressured prices, but prices lifted again by the end of the season. Japan and South Korea are the two largest consumer markets for Atlantic mackerel and demand has strengthened throughout the pandemic.

Export values of herring increased 11% last year, reaching 4,2 billion NOK. This was slightly beneath the record level seen back in 2011. The uncertainties linked to the 25% increase in herring quotas turned out very well as prices lifted throughout the year and the interest in herring in the markets strengthened.

Herring roe export increased strongly during 2020 and though export volumes decreased in 2021 it was also a strong year. Less supply lifted prices to NOK 86/kg, and this partly compensated for lower volumes. Herring is doing well in economically uncertain times and the corona pandemic has contributed to increased demand both in 2020 and 2021. Together, export values of herring and mackerel exceeded NOK 1o billion last year.

2022 has barely started and the pelagic fishery fleet has just started on this year’s quotas. Outlook is less supply of both NSS herring and mackerel due to lower quotas. This will for sure continue to put pressure on prices the coming months.

Prospects for the coming year and maybe years, is that people, due to less purchasing power in many herring and mackerel consuming markets, will have to look for the cheapest proteins. In that context, pelagic species has a strong position.


This is an extract from the Monthly Pelagic Report. Want to stay updated on the latest in the world of pelagic species? Subscribe to the report today.

Image: Shutterstock by Rich Carey