Salmon exports from Scotland to European Union countries reached record levels in the first half of this year, according to figures from HM Revenue and Customs.
HMRC reports that 33,638 tonnes of whole, fresh salmon were exported to the EU in the first six months of 2021, up by 63% compared with the same period in 2020. Depressed prices meant, however, that the value of exports to the EU, £183.4m, only increased by 42%.
Exports to the rest of the world totalled just under 17,000 tonnes, up 54% on H1 of 2020, with a value of £119.6m, up 41%.
Compared to the last pre-pandemic full year, 2019, the latest export figures represent a 7% increase by volume and a 5% fall by value (to EU markets); and for exports to the rest of the world, reductions of 25% by volume and 27% by value.
The Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation noted that while the amount of salmon being sold was encouraging, value had dipped alarmingly since the start of the year and the additional burdens imposed by Brexit were continuing to cost salmon farmers around £120,000 each month.
SSPO Chief Executive Tavish Scott said: “We are delighted to see such strong demand for our salmon internationally, which demonstrates the importance of our sector as an economic driver of Scotland’s rural economy. The jobs and communities we have been able to support during such a difficult year is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the employees throughout the entire sector. Scottish salmon is truly an economic success story that we can all be proud of.
He added: “Despite much reason for celebration, we cannot deny that we are disappointed that the value of our award-winning salmon remains suppressed due to intense marketplace competition and fallout from Brexit’s impact on our supply chains.”