Scottish salmon exports reach five-year high

Responsible Seafood Advocate

Scottish salmon exports surged in the past year as international demand grows

Scottish salmon
Scottish salmon exports surged to $819 million in the past year, reaching a five-year high as international demand grows. Photo credit: Salmon Scotland

New HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) data analyzed by Salmon Scotland shows that in the first quarter of 2024, the value of salmon exports soared by £65 million (U.S. $82.5 million) to £250 million (U.S. $317.5 million) – a 36 percent increase on the same period last year. This was accompanied by a 35 percent increase in the volume of fish transported.

Over the past year, exports of salmon reached £645 million (U.S. $819 million). This amount is 11% higher than the previous year’s total of £581 million (U.S. $738 million) and marks the highest sales value since 2019.

Salmon Scotland said that if current growth continues, 2024 could set a record for international sales, further confirming salmon’s position as the UK’s top food export.

“The reputational and economic value of Scottish salmon is immense, as reflected in these latest export figures showing a significant increase in global demand for our healthy, nutritious fish,” said Tavish Scott, chief executive of Salmon Scotland. “As exports continue to rise, enhanced legal protection under the UK Government’s Protected Geographical Indication scheme will safeguard the Scottish salmon brand both domestically and internationally.”

The findings come amid calls for the next UK government to reduce red tape introduced due to Brexit, with the trade body publishing its own manifesto this month. Salmon Scotland urges whoever wins the election on July 4 to improve relations with the European Union to boost exports.

The sector also wants to see the introduction of electronic export health certificates and the elimination of unnecessary paperwork associated with exporting salmon to Europe, costing salmon farmers an estimated £3 million (U.S. $3.8 million) every year since Brexit.

“Given the critical importance of revenue generation by our farmers, particularly during the cost-of-living crisis, whoever is handed the keys to Number 10 must streamline the export process for fresh Scottish salmon, ensuring quicker delivery to our customers,” said Scott. “Through salmon farming expansion, we are bolstering Scotland’s economic growth, creating quality jobs in our Highland and island communities and supplying low-carbon, protein-rich food to meet the needs of a growing global population.”


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