Scottish salmon exports for H1 up 9%

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Exports of Scottish salmon totalled £306m in the first half of 2023, up 9% year on year, according to HM Revenue & Customs’ latest export statistics.

Salmon is the UK’s number one food export by value. The largest increases by value were to the USA, China, Poland and Taiwan, while there was also huge percentage growth in the Netherlands, Singapore, Japanese and Spanish markets.

France remains by far the top international destination for Scottish salmon, and although sales to the country dipped 5% in the first half of the year, this was more than offset by wider global demand.

Within the EU, the new figures for countries like Poland and the Netherlands – now the fourth and sixth biggest global markets – reflect a growth in other EU hub and redistribution markets.

Overall, non-EU exports rose significantly by 19% in the first half of 2023 to £132m, with EU export sales up by 3% to £173m.

In 2022, sales of fresh, whole salmon reached £578m, just short of the record of £617m set in 2019. Industry body Salmon Scotland is expecting another excellent year.

Salmon Scotland analysis of the HMRC figures, comparing values in the first half of 2023 with the first half of 2022, show exports to:

  • USA up 10% to £77m.
  • China up 57% to £12m.
  • Poland up 48% to £17m.
  • Taiwan up 174% to £9m.
  • Netherlands up 114% to £9m.

Premium “Label Rouge” salmon – which carries the French quality mark for excellence – currently accounts for around 12% of exports, and there is a vision to grow this to 15% by 2026, tapping into markets in Germany, Spain and Italy where that quality mark is increasingly recognised.

Separately, the UK domestic market for salmon is valued at around £1.2bn per year, and the sector’s Gross Value Added (GVA) is worth £766m for the Scottish and UK economy.

Tavish Scott, Chief Executive of Salmon Scotland, said: “Both the UK and Scottish governments rightly recognise the potential for continued sustainable growth, so that Scotland can lead the world in the blue economy and grow one of the most nutritious foods we can eat.

“While we face the same challenges as many sectors – including too much red tape, labour shortages, housing supply issues and the impact of climate change – the extraordinary success of our sector is something to be incredibly proud of.”

Lord Malcolm Offord, UK Government Minister for Scotland and Exports, said: “These are incredibly encouraging figures for Scottish salmon exports and point towards another strong year for the sector.

“From the US to China exports are rising for our high quality produce, showing the demand that exists for it across the globe.

“It cements salmon’s position as one of the UK’s top exports, and the UK Government will do all we can to help the sector continue this growth in the months and years to come.”

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