Vital to rural economy

Scottish salmon farming hits new record

Salmon industry is vital to the rural economy


Scottish salmon farmers produced a record harvest and exports last year as the industry continues to underpin the rural economy.

The Scottish Fish Farm Production Survey for 2017, produced by Marine Scotland Science, reports that 189,707 tonnes were harvested, the sector’s highest ever output. 

The official annual statistical bulletin also reports increases of just over three million smolts put to sea as well other measures of productivity. The level of survival on farms has also improved to 79.1% compared to 73.3% in the previous year. 

Gilpin Bradley, chairman of the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO) said: “Volumes were strong and exports reached an all-time high with sales of £600m to more than 50 countries.

Demand for quality Scottish salmon continues to outstrip supply and the sector aspires to grow to meet demand, but we also recognise the importance of steady, sustainable development.

“These new figures, alongside the investment in tackling emerging challenges give us great confidence in the sector’s ability for sustainable growth over the coming years.” 

Highlands and Islands Enterprise recently reported that employment in the industry and the wider supply chain topped 10,000 full time equivalent jobs.

Charlotte Wright, chief executive of HIE, said: “These figures are good news for Scottish aquaculture and show the significant social contributions the industry makes to remote rural, island and coastal areas by supporting high-skilled jobs, diversifying and protecting communities.

” Salmon farming is a major contributor to the Highlands and Islands economy and brings additional business opportunities to the area. We have supported the aquaculture industry since its inception and as a vital sector which provides many jobs for rural communities.” 

Ahead of an anticipated dip in production in 2018 because of gill health issues during autumn 2017 the sector is putting investment in place to help smooth fluctuations in production. Salmon farmers have invested more than £60m in new technologies and improved farming techniques, research projects and cleaner fish.

Mr Bradley added: “It is encouraging to see that the report confirms an improvement in the industry’s survival figures as a result of the ongoing investment in this area.”

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