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EUMOFA report: Salmon and trout roe – production, trade and consumption

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By Milthon Lujan

Salmon and trout roe was the focus of this study, which are the most widely consumed and commercially important fish roe products aside from sturgeon caviar. Caviar analogues, such as salmon and trout roe, are less expensive alternatives to traditional caviar from sturgeons.

Salmon and trout roe - production, trade and consumption
Salmon and trout roe – production, trade and consumption

Salmon roe is mainly produced from wild salmon. Given this, the majority of salmon roe production happens in countries with large stocks of wild pacific salmon such as the USA, Russia, and Japan. Alaska is the primary producer of salmon roe in the USA, with a production of about 13.335 tonnes in 2021. Russia produced about 29.500 tonnes of salmon roe in 2021. Production increased in both Alaska and Russia from the previous year, by 83% in Alaska and nearly 50% in Russia.

According to Eurostat, EU Member States produced a total of 998 tonnes of trout roe in 2020 for a value of roughly EUR 16 million. This was an increase of 12% in terms of volume and 1% in terms of value when compared to 2019.

The USA has been the main exporter of salmon and trout roe to EU MS. In 2021, 1.899 tonnes were exported from the USA to EU MS at a value of 18.068 million EUR. Exports mainly went to Germany (55%) and Lithuania (33%). From 2017-2021 export volume of salmon and trout roe from the USA to EU MS has been stable. During the period 16% of total export volume went to EU MS and contributed with 17% of total value from exports. Export volumes of salmon and trout roe from Russia to EU MS are negligible.

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According to stakeholders, trout roe is sold at roughly half the price of salmon roe. According to industry players, demand for trout roe rises when the availability of salmon roe is limited, or the price has increased. Trout roe may be exported both under the code “caviar substitutes” which covers roe from a multitude of species or under codes used for salmon roe, making the actual trade difficult to identify in trade statistics.

As the largest importer of salmon and trout roe, the market dynamics in Japan reflect the global dynamics of the salmon and trout roe market. In 2021 Japan imported an estimated 19.780 tonnes salmon and trout roe at a value of EUR 438 million. This was an increase of 57% in terms of volume and 101% in terms of value when compared with 2020.

Reference (open access)
EUMOFA. 2022. Salmon and trout roe – production, trade and consumption. 27 p.

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