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Farmed salmon prices plummet

Supply of one of Finland's most popular fish has increased as sea temperatures along the Norwegian coast have warmed.

Due to rising prices, fresh fish sales decreased by at least 52 percent during the first half of 2022, compared to the same period last year. Image: Jaana Polamo / Yle
Yle News

As the cost of many food items continues to rise, the price of farmed salmon from Norway has dropped considerably since last spring.

The fish, a particular favourite in Finland, is often served in the form of creamy salmon soup, for example.

Prices for Norwegian farmed salmon have not been this low during this year, according to Riku Isohätälä, the CEO of fish processing firm Hätälä.

"The price of salmon has literally collapsed," he said.

Last spring the price of salmon hit nearly 40 euros per kilogram, when Isohätälä's Oulu-based firm only received one delivery of the fish per day. Now, he said, the company regularly takes delivery of three to four truckloads of salmon every weekday.

Plummeting prices

The lower prices of salmon are also visible at grocery stores, including at the Citymarket in Rovaniemi, where the price of whole fish have been as low as eight euros per kilogram.

Pirkko Lehtinen, who eats fish several times a week, said she started noticing prices declining towards the end of summer.

"That's why I often get salmon. Just in case. It is a good idea to freeze salmon in the case that prices begin to rise again," she explained.

The high price of salmon affected consumers' willingness to shell out for seafood.

According to the Finnish Grocery Trade Association lobby group, fresh fish sales decreased by at least 52 percent during the first half of 2022, compared to the same period last year.

Like other commodities, the price of salmon is set on the Oslo Stock Exchangeand is affected by factors like supply and demand. The exchange has seen Norwegian salmon prices falling by around 40 percent over the past three months.

Supply and demand

Kaija Saarni, a researcher from Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), attributed the rapid price drop to an increase in supply.

"Supply is expected to continue to rise this autumn, because conditions in Norway have been good. The water has been warm and the salmon have grown well," Saarni explained.

Last spring's price spikes were due to a mismatch between supply and demand. An increase in demand was prompted by the gradual reopening of restaurants and lunch canteens as pandemic restrictions were lowered. Meanwhile, supply of salmon was hampered by colder-than-usual temperatures in the sea off of Norway.

However, going forward, developments in salmon prices remain to be seen, according to researcher Saarni.

"According to some estimates, the price of salmon has now reached its lowest level. But other estimates suggest that prices will continue to fall in the autumn, although forecasts do estimate that prices will rise during the Christmas season," Saarni said.

Meanwhile, demand for the fleshy, pink-coloured fish may be curbed by quickly-ballooning inflation, as consumers will be more careful about their choices at the supermarket as they are faced with increases in, for example, rising energy prices.

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