Market access update: Denmark trade profile


Danish capture and aquaculture production reached 904 900 tonnes in 2015, with 35 800 tonnes coming from aquaculture alone. After record high volumes in the 1990s (more than 1.5 million tonnes), Danish production dropped below 1 million tonnes beginning in 2004. This decrease is largely attributed to decreases in catches of sand eels and other species from the North Sea as well as the introduction of quotas to allow for stock recovery, mainly for herring and cod. The Danish aquaculture sector concentrates mostly on rainbow trout (90 percent of its aquaculture production in 2015).

In 2016, Denmark imported USD 3.6 billion worth of fish and fishery products. Top suppliers were Norway, Greenland, Germany and the Faroe Islands. Danish imports are dominated by salmon. Indeed, Atlantic and Danube salmon (fresh or chilled) represented nearly 29 percent of the total Danish import value in 2016. Norway is the exclusive supplier, taking 95 percent of the market share in value. Salmon is either consumed domestically or further processed for re-export, mostly to other EU28 countries such as Germany, Netherlands and France. Frozen cold-water shrimp and prawns (valued at USD 178 million in 2016) is another important Danish import commodity, almost entirely from Greenland (77 percent in value). Other important imports include whole frozen halibut and turbot, with Greenland as the major supplier, as well as fresh and chilled cod, with Norway as the major supplier.

In 2014, Denmark was the eighth largest exporter of fish and fishery products in the world, with an export value of USD 4.76 billion. Aside from salmon exports, important Danish fish exports include cod, herring, mackerel and trout, all of which are sold fresh or chilled. Cod exports were valued at USD 230 million in 2016 of which 30 percent went to France and 22 percent to the Netherlands. According to EUMOFA, intra-EU trade of herring almost entirely originates from Denmark. In 2016, fresh or chilled Danish exports of herring totaled USD 60.7 million and were destined mainly to Germany (72 percent of German import value). In terms of fresh or chilled mackerel, Norway is the most important trade partner to Denmark, with 45 percent of the export value of Danish mackerel headed to Norway in 2016.
The fish oil and fishmeal sector is another important industry in Denmark; blue whiting and sprat landings are mostly destined for fish reduction to process into these commodities. In 2010, the bulk of Danish catches were destined for reduction. These fish made up 68 percent of total commercial landings and accounted for 30 percent of the total value. Besides being a global leader in production of fishmeal and fish oil, Denmark is also one of the main EU importers of fish oil with 85.755 tonnes imported from non-EU countries in 2016 (EUMOFA, 2017). In the first half of 2017, Denmark was Norway's top supplier of fish oil, providing nearly 27 000 tonnes.

In terms of livelihoods, in 2014, the Danish fish processing sector (excluding fishmeal and fish oil) consisted of 96 companies that employed 3 433 people. In addition, 2 578 employees worked in the 414 companies operating in the auction, wholesale and retail of fish and fishery products in 2014 (The Danish Agriculture Agency, 2016).


[Enter here the full profile, which includes the food safety regulations and the fisheries and aquculture statistics]

Cover photo credit: ©EUROFISH

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