Salmon sector worth £760m to Scotland, study finds


The salmon industry contributed £760m to Scotland’s economy in 2021, according to the latest economic report from trade body Salmon Scotland.

The figures from Salmon Scotland show a direct economic contribution of £303m in Gross Value Added (GVA) in 2021, up nearly a fifth on pre-pandemic levels of £254m in 2019.

The study calculates that the sector also indirectly generated a further £397m in GVA through the industry’s supply chain, which supports jobs throughout Scotland.

The salmon sector’s economic contribution was up by nearly 20% last year when compared to 2019.

Salmon Scotland Chief Executive Tavish Scott said that reforms to the regulatory and planning system for salmon farming, currently being discussed, could potentially result in Scottish salmon generating as much as £1bn for the Scottish economy through sustainable growth.

Salmon farming directly employs more than 2,500 people in coastal communities in rural Scotland, with a further 10,000 Scottish jobs elsewhere dependent on the sector.

The study found a further £66m positive impact in employment costs (up 22.2% from £54m in 2020), benefitting local communities and companies like accommodation providers and retailers all year round, taking the combined total to £766m.

It also breaks down the economic contribution the sector makes to Scotland’s five salmon producing regions:

  • £224m across the north west Highlands
  • £151m in the Western Isles
  • £150m in Argyll and Bute
  • £137m in Shetland
  • £75m in Orkney.

Tavish Scott, chief executive of Salmon Scotland, said: “Scottish salmon generates vital wealth for the country, and specifically for our islands and Highland coastal communities.

“Farm-raised salmon is the economic backbone of some of Scotland’s most isolated areas, creating thousands of local jobs and opportunities.

“Everyone in the sector is part of a global success story with the highest environmental and welfare standards that puts the best-tasting and healthiest protein product on people’s plates around the world.

“All this has been achieved by a dedicated workforce despite the incredible challenges of Covid and Brexit, so by tapping into salmon farming’s full potential I am confident the blue economy can deliver even greater benefits for local communities – and could be worth £1bn to the Scottish economy in just a few years.”

He went on to say: “It is imperative that the Scottish Government enables a framework that is both transparent and efficient and the UK Government works to address the post-Brexit challenges at the border to ensure that Scottish salmon can turbocharge the country’s economy.

Tavish Scott



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