(Adds quotes, ministry comment, background)
OSLO, Jan 4 (Reuters) - Norwegian seafood exports rose by 23 percent in 2016 from a year earlier to a record of 91.6 billion Norwegian crowns ($10.59 billion), the state-owned Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC) said on Wednesday.
Higher sales were driven by lower salmon supply, rising demand and a weak currency, it said.
Fisheries Minister Per Sandberg said the country’s fish farming industry will continue to grow.
“The world is crying out for Norwegian fish. Demand for seafood from Norway is rising more rapidly than the industry can deliver,” he said in a separate statement from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries.
The value of salmon and trout exports, the single biggest category, rose by 31.4 percent to 65.3 billion crowns despite a volume decline of 3.5 percent, NSC data showed.
The average price of salmon was 60.11 Norwegian crowns per kilo in 2016, up 40 percent from 2015, Chief Executive Officer Renate Larsen of the NSC told a news conference.
In 2016, Poland was the single biggest market for Norwegian Seafood and amounted to 9.7 billion crowns while France was the second biggest with 7.9 billion crowns.
White fish exports, including cod, rose 6 percent from a year earlier to 13.8 billion crowns in 2016, while volumes grew by 7 percent.
“Demand has never been so strong despite record high prices in some categories”, Larsen said.
The value of Norwegian fish farmers, including top global producer Marine Harvest, rose sharply in 2016.
$1 = 8.6468 Norwegian crowns Reporting by Ole Petter Skonnord, editing by Stine Jacobsen and Terje Solsvik