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ANALYSIS – Despite salmon prices having their toll on Norwegian exports, total seafood exports for the country were still looking good in 2011. Meanwhile poor weather has left farmers in Scotland and Norway out of pocket, writes TheFishSite editor Charlotte Johnston.

Charlotte Johnston, Editor

While 2010 was a record year for Norwegian seafood exports, 2011 saw a fall in the value of exports of 1.2 per cent.

This fall is down to a drop in aquaculture product sales rather than fishery products and the sharp drop in prices that the industry saw in the second half of 2011.
However, Managing Director of the Norwegian Seafood Council, Terje Martinussen said that seen in a historical perspective the value of aquaculture industry exports in 2011 (NOK 31 billion) is still very high.

Salmon prices at the end of 2010, and early half of 2011, were exceptionally high. In April, prices set a record high at NOK 42.73 per kg. Prices have now stabilised to pre 2010 levels, and 2011 saw an average export price of NOK 31.93 per kg.

It was quite the opposite for the fisheries sector, which had an historic year, with exports valued at NOK 22 billion.
Minister of Fisheries, Lisbeth Bergen said: "It is impressive that 2011 total exports are only one per cent lower than our export record year – 2010."

Elsewhere in Norway, and other parts of Europe, the stormy weather seen at the start of the year has caused problems for offshore aquaculture producers.

Marine Harvest Norway was working to reclaim escaped salmon last week, after storms damaged nets in Nordfjord.

In Scotland, Lakeland Unst lost 12 salmon cages in the Shetlands. These cages were recovered nearly two weeks later, and it is unlikely that the 300,000 fish, valued at more than £3 million, have survived.

With extreme weather conditions becoming more common, aquaculture producers and technology are having to adapt to ensure that the industry is in the best possible position to continue production, with minimal impact on businesses and the environment.

Charlotte Johnston, Editor