Table of Contents

  • In spring 2007 the Nordic Council of Ministers established a working group consisting of representatives from the fish industry organisations in the Nordic countries to look into possible intra-Nordic barriers to seafood trade. The report is a result of the work made by processing and exporters organisations from Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Denmark and Norway. It therefore focuses on these four countries in particular although their trade with Sweden and Finland are also commented. The work has been led by Pétur Bjarnason from the Fisheries Association of Iceland. Eurofish International Organisation has served as secretariat throughout the process.

  • The Nordic countries are important traders in seafood. Norway, Denmark, Iceland and the Faroe Islands are all substantial exporters. However, Denmark is the only Nordic country that buys important volumes of seafood. This reflects Denmark’s role as a transit country as well as a processor of seafood. As consumer markets the Nordic region is, however, of limited interest due to the relative low number of inhabitants.

  • The Norwegian Seafood Export Council (NSEC) has provided the working group with trade statistics based on data for seafood for consumption. The use of these data permits a comparison between the four countries. It should, however, be noted that a comparison on selected items between NSEC data and national data show certain differences, which are owed to different ways of compiling data. It should also be noted that the used data, being limited to “seafood for consumption” (with HS codes starting with 03 and 1604-1605) do not reflect the overall trade in volume and volume for each country, which also include raw materials, oil and meal and by-products.

  • Denmark, Finland and Sweden are members of the EU. Iceland’s and Norway’s relations with the EU are governed by the EEA agreement as well as bilateral agreements, while there is a bilateral trade agreement between the Faroe Islands and the EU.

  • Direct landings is listed here as a possible trade barrier factor. On one side the Nordic countries may have or have earlier had measures limiting the conditions for their national vessels landings abroad. On the other side foreign vessels may encounter limitations in the ports of the Nordic countries where they land their catches.

  • The working group considers that free trade should the guiding principle for fish trade and that the objective of liberalising fishery trade should be pursued by their governments. The working group, however, recognizes the complexity of the trade policy regimes operating in the Nordic countries. It also recognizes the changing patterns in global fishery trade, which is playing an increasing role for the fishery industry in the Nordic countries.