Producers are optimistic that the first shipment of Scottish salmon to Saudi Arabia in 18 months could point the way to new market opportunities.
A shipment of Mowi Scotland salmon arrived in Dammam on Saturday 21 November, effectively re-opening the Saudi Arabian market after a lengthy hiatus due to the changes in Saudi seafood regulations in mid-2019. In 2017, the UK exported around £1.9 million of seafood to Saudi Arabia, dropping to around £1 million in 2018. Exports of Scottish salmon alone to Saudi Arabia were valued at around £200,000 per annum.
Scottish Development International, Seafood Scotland and the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation have been working to overcome this trade barrier and secure new market access.
Tavish Scott, chief executive of Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation welcomed the move: “This is excellent news. This year has been one of upheaval and uncertainty in the export markets due to Covid and the success in overcoming the barriers to trade in Saudi Arabia is a welcome signal for Scottish salmon exports.”
Mowi Scotland supplied the first order and believes it will add to the company’s regular schedule of exports to the Middle East.
Jamie McAldine of Mowi said: “Saudi Arabia is the largest market in the Middle East and it is great to be able to meet the demand for our high quality Scottish salmon. Health is high on the agenda in Saudi Arabia and the well-known health benefits of Atlantic salmon fit perfectly with this agenda. We are grateful to SDI, Seafood Scotland, Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation and our full supply chain within Mowi Scotland for their support in making this market re-entry possible.”
Clare MacDougall, Head of Trade Marketing for Middle East, at Seafood Scotland said: “It’s welcome news that Scottish Salmon is again being exported to Saudi Arabia. Across the Scottish seafood industry exporting has been challenging recently and it’s great to see the support from multiple agencies in assisting trade in this market.”
In June, Saudi Arabia announced it was planning to introduce sweeping tariff increases on imported seafood, up to a maximum of 12 per cent on some species. The increases have been put on hold so far, however.