Scottish salmon production recorded its biggest ever numbers in 2019, according to the latest figures from the Scottish Government. The Scottish Fish Farm Production Survey for 2019 showed that the sector farmed 203,881 tonnes of salmon last year, an increase of 30.7 per cent on 2018.
In 2019, production of Atlantic salmon increased by 47,856 tonnes (30.7 per cent) to 203,881 tonnes, the highest ever level of production recorded in Scotland
The total number of smolts produced in 2019 increased by 4.3 million (9per cent) to 51.4 million, this is the highest annual smolt production recorded in Scotland
The total number of staff employed in marine salmon production during 2019 also increased by 185 to 1,651 staff.
Hamish Macdonell, Director of Strategic Engagement at the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO), said: “These figures show what a great success story Scottish salmon continues to be. Our farmers achieved record production levels in 2019, employed more people and exported more around the world. In doing so, they injected significant sums into many of Scotland’s most sparsely populated rural areas and boosted the economy as a whole. This is a sector we can all be proud of.”
Commenting on the Scottish Fish Farm Production Survey 2019, Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “The latest figures show record levels of salmon being produced by fish farms with the finfish sector on track to achieve its sustainable growth target of 210,000 tonnes by 2020.
“With increased jobs and stock across all farmed fish I congratulate the sector for its efforts, delivering unprecedented production of this nutritious, quality seafood and creating more highly paid, highly skilled jobs in many of our most remote and fragile communities.
“I look forward to salmon maintaining its place as Scotland’s biggest food export, as a key contributor to our food and drink success story which in turn is supporting the wider supply chain. With the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) and threats from Brexit, we will do all we can to support the sector and the benefits it brings, working to drive improvements in research, innovation and regulation to deliver further sustainable growth.”
While 2020 has been an exceptionally challenging year due to coronavirus, the sector has ensured that all staff have been protected with a variety of safety measures and farming has continued. As a result of all these efforts production is estimated to grow again this year, to around 207,000 tonnes, according to the Scottish Government statistics. While exports have been severely hampered by the impact of coronavirus, sales within the UK market have grown this year.
Atholl Duncan, chair of SSPO, commented: “Today’s figures demonstrate the importance of salmon to the Scottish economy, particularly as the country emerges from the challenges of Covid.”
Earlier this year statistics from HMRC showed that exports of fresh Scottish salmon had also achieved a record high, with an increase of 26 per cent to 94,000 tonnes.