Norwegian King Crab Exports Reach Record High Amid Russia Sanctions

by Ella

In 2023, Norway witnessed an unprecedented surge in seafood exports, reaching a historic value of NOK 172 billion (€15 billion). The average global consumption of seafood from Norwegian waters amounted to 39 million meals per day last year.

While cod exports saw a decline, the export records were set by salmon and king crab, with the latter experiencing remarkable growth. Norway exported 2,500 tons of king crab, valued at 1.2 billion kroner (€100 million), marking a substantial 43% year-on-year increase. The volume growth alone reached an impressive 78%.


This record-breaking performance is attributed to an expanded quota and improved market conditions. Notably, the sanctions against Russian crab in Western markets have played a role in boosting exports to the United States, contributing to the overall success.


Marte Sofie Danielsen, Manager for Shellfish at the Norwegian Seafood Council, stated, “The record is driven by an increase in volume resulting from an increased quota and an improved market situation. Demand and logistics to Asia have picked up while sanctions against Russian crab in the West contributed to increased exports to the USA.”


The primary markets for Norwegian king crab from the Barents Sea sector are the United States, Vietnam, and Hong Kong. Norway remains one of the two Western European countries permitting Russian fishing vessels to make port calls, with Tromsø, Båtsfjord, and Kirkenes remaining open in the north.


Despite the record export figures, prices for frozen and live king crab have decreased compared to the previous year’s highs. A weakened Norwegian krone has somewhat mitigated this decline, keeping prices above 2021 levels.

The United States emerged as the largest market for Norwegian king crab, experiencing the most significant increase in value last year. The export value to the USA saw a notable surge of NOK 209 million, marking an 80% increase compared to the previous year.

Marte Sofie Danielsen explained, “Although Norway has periodically been the only supplier to the USA, prices have fallen in both kroner and dollars. A lot of uncertainty has characterized the market situation in the USA because of the sanctions, the sky-high prices in 2022, and a two-year closed fishery in Alaska. However, it was reopened in October.”



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