Salmon Scotland calls for change in ‘protected’ status wording

scottish smoked salmon flag

Industry body Salmon Scotland has confirmed that it has asked for the phrase “farmed” to be removed from the sector’s “protected geographical indication”, the rules which set out which products can be sold as “Scottish salmon”.

A protected geographical indication (PGI) can apply to any food, drink and agricultural product with a geographical connection or that is made using traditional methods. Originally a European Union scheme, since 2020 the PGI status of UK products has been the responsibility of the UK government.

For Scottish salmon, the current PGI refers to “Scottish farmed salmon” and “Scottish organic farmed salmon”. Salmon Scotland says the public now understand that Atlantic salmon for sale in the UK is now all farmed, not wild, so the “farmed” designation is redundant.

In a statement today, Salmon Scotland said: “In practice, most retailers and customers understand ‘Scottish Farmed Salmon’ is ‘Scottish salmon’.

Twenty years on [from 2004 when the PGI was first approved], and a few years since the UK left the European Union, the time is right to consider whether the PGI reflects what consumers understand our product to be.

“The name change simply reflects this.”

Salmon Scotland added that, as packaging rules make it clear that the production method for seafood must be clearly stated, consumers will be left in no doubt that the product they are buying has been farmed in Scotland.

The key reason given for the change is that, as it stands, unscrupulous operators could pass an inferior product off as “Scottish salmon” even if it does not meet the terms of the PGI, which sets out in some detail the required quality and production methods required to qualify.

Salmon Scotland lodged its application to amend the PGI on 20 July, but has gone public this week following press reports.

The proposed amendments also include a request to change the geographical designation from “The western coastal region of mainland Scotland, Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland” to “The coastal region of mainland Scotland, Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland Isles.”

There are also proposals to change some of the wording regarding the production process and to make it clearer which products can be designated “Scottish Salmon”.

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