(Adds quotes, ministry comment, background)
OSLO Jan 4 Norwegian seafood exports rose by 23
percent in 2016 from a year earlier to a record of 91.6 billion
Norwegian crowns ($10.59 billion), the state-owned Norwegian
Seafood Council (NSC) said on Wednesday.
Higher sales were driven by lower salmon supply, rising
demand and a weak currency, it said.
Fisheries Minister Per Sandberg said the country's fish
farming industry will continue to grow.
"The world is crying out for Norwegian fish. Demand for
seafood from Norway is rising more rapidly than the industry can
deliver," he said in a separate statement from the Ministry of
Trade, Industry and Fisheries.
The value of salmon and trout exports, the single biggest
category, rose by 31.4 percent to 65.3 billion crowns despite a
volume decline of 3.5 percent, NSC data showed.
The average price of salmon was 60.11 Norwegian crowns per
kilo in 2016, up 40 percent from 2015, Chief Executive Officer
Renate Larsen of the NSC told a news conference.
In 2016, Poland was the single biggest market for Norwegian
Seafood and amounted to 9.7 billion crowns while France was the
second biggest with 7.9 billion crowns.
White fish exports, including cod, rose 6 percent from a
year earlier to 13.8 billion crowns in 2016, while volumes grew
by 7 percent.
"Demand has never been so strong despite record high prices
in some categories", Larsen said.
The value of Norwegian fish farmers, including top global
producer Marine Harvest, rose sharply in 2016.
($1 = 8.6468 Norwegian crowns)
(Reporting by Ole Petter Skonnord, editing by Stine Jacobsen
and Terje Solsvik)