Norwegian salmon prices appear to be moving higher in the run up to the Easter holiday, according to market sources.

A number of suppliers have already packed up for the holiday, and many processing plants will not be operating next week.

"We haven't heard anything, other than that it's going up. Prime and standard fish must go up, but not the production fish. That is what we have heard, and then it will be interesting to see," an exporter said.

Lower-quality salmon are referred to as production fish and must be first be processed in Norway before they can be shipped to foreign buyers, although this could change after the European Commission's trade department, DG Trade said earlier this month Norway's export ban on low-grade salmon amounts to a trade barrier.

Typically, less than 10 percent of the salmon is production fish, but in the winter the proportion may be higher due to winter sores, among other things. Wounds and unsightly parts are removed for export.

In mid-February, 36.6 percent of all fish were categorized as production fish. The record-high proportion of production fish on the wider market is seen as a problem for the Norwegian industry's reputation and overall pricing.

One exporter passed on prices from producers in northern Norway.

"Difficult to find the right level, but it is up NOK 20 (€1.72/$1.86) and there is a big shortage of all fish apart from production fish," he said.

Another exporter said it was hard to offer concrete numbers, noting that prices are moving up a little.

"There are fewer processing days, which is common at Easter. We have not locked down anything, but we see a slight upturn. We don't know exactly how much yet, but it should increase a little until next week," he said.

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