Scottish Salmon exports leap 7%
11th November 2023
The value of Scottish salmon exports has jumped by 7 per cent in a year as international demand continues to grow.
New HMRC data analysed by trade body Salmon Scotland shows that for the first three quarters of 2023 to September there was a rise of £33 million to £478 million.
On a rolling annual basis, exports of the nutritious fish stand at £611 million - 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 250 million healthy, nutritious meals.
The EU continues to be the key destination for exports, accounting for £287 million worth of the total over the first three quarters.
France remains the single largest market for Scottish salmon, with sales of £211 million, 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 per cent to £191 million, with one-in-five salmon heading to the US (£113 million - up 11 per cent).
And export growth in Asia increased by more than 40 per cent in value (+41 per cent) and volume (+42 per cent) to £66 million and 5,400 tonnes respectively.
To further boost the reputation of the world's best salmon, Salmon Scotland is currently taking steps to protect the premium product from food fraud, where inferior salmon products with lower environmental and food safety standards are imported and could be sold as ‘Scottish salmon'.
In 2004, genuine Scottish salmon was awarded with a protected geographic indication, or PGI, which means only farm-raised Atlantic salmon from Scotland can be called ‘Scottish farmed salmon’.
Wild Scottish salmon is not sold in supermarkets, and farm-raised salmon now supplies 100 per cent of the increasing demand for fresh Atlantic salmon.
The UK Government has therefore been asked to boost the legal protections for farm-raised Scottish salmon, particularly post-Brexit, by changing the PGI name simply to ‘Scottish salmon’.
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.
"The UK Government is determined to ensure it continues to enjoy a sustainable and profitable future. As we strike new international trade deals this will create more worldwide opportunities for Scottish salmon."
Tavish Scott, chief executive of Salmon Scotland, said, "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 millions 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."
Separate figures from Salmon Scotland show a direct economic contribution from the sector of £303million in Gross Value Added (GVA) in 2021, up nearly a fifth on pre-pandemic levels of £254million in 2019. The sector also indirectly generated a further £397million in GVA through the supply chain, and a further £66million positive impact in employment costs, taking the combined total to £766million.
International trade week was launched in 2021 and is run by the UK Government’s Department for Business and Trade. Further information about the week is available here: www.events.great.gov.uk/website/11631/itw-2023