Scottish salmon exports leap 7% year-on-year

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The value of Scottish salmon exports has jumped by 7% in a year as international demand continues to grow, according to the latest data from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

An analysis of the HMRC data by trade body Salmon Scotland shows that, for the first three quarters of 2023 to September, there was a rise of £33m to £478m.

On a rolling annual basis, exports stand at £611m – confirming Scottish salmon’s place as the UK’s top food export.

The findings come at the end of international trade week, with the UK Government stating that Scottish salmon is “rightly renowned around the globe and is also of huge importance for many of our coastal communities”.

In the first nine months of the year, 53,000 tonnes of Scottish salmon were exported to more than 50 countries, enough for more than 250m healthy, nutritious meals.

The EU continues to be the key destination for exports, accounting for £287m worth of the total over the first three quarters.

France remains the single largest market for Scottish salmon, with sales of £211m, although more exports are heading to other EU hubs such as the Netherlands or direct to markets further afield, resulting in a fall.

Elsewhere, exports of Scottish salmon beyond the EU increased 15% to £191m, with one-in-five salmon heading to the US (£113m – up 11%).

And export growth in Asia increased by more than 40% in value (+41%) and volume (+42%) to £66m and 5,400 tonnes respectively.

Salmon Scotland is currently taking steps to protect the premium product from food fraud, through a proposed update of Scottish salmon’s “protected geographic indication” status.

UK Government Minister for Scotland John Lamont said:  “Scottish salmon is a great British export success story and it’s fantastic to see this esteemed product going from strength to strength.

“Our biggest food export is rightly renowned around the globe and is also of huge importance for many of our coastal communities, supporting thousands of jobs all over Scotland.”

Tavish Scott, Chief Executive of Salmon Scotland, commented: “These export figures underline the vital importance of Scottish salmon to the UK economy.

“Global demand for nutritious, fresh Scottish salmon continues to rise, providing hundreds of healthy, nutritious meals, and supporting thousands of well paid, long-term jobs here in Scotland.

“Potential changes to the legal protection for Scottish salmon will help to maintain the reputation for premium Scottish salmon abroad, as well as protecting against food fraud, which risks undermining the reputation Scottish salmon has for quality and provenance.”

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