Scottish salmon sees further surge in demand
Scottish salmon exports are enjoying a boom in popularity in Asia markets where sales have doubled, new HM Revenue and Customs figures show.
Sales to the European Union have held up, while North America has also seen a surge in demand.
North America and Asia accounted for nearly half (47%) of all sales in the first three months of this year, driven by strong demand from China, Taiwan, Singapore, and South Korea. The value of exports to Asia has soared by £12 million, to £24m.
Trade body Salmon Scotland said the figures show that farm-raised salmon “generates vital income for the country”.
It comes amid a backlash to Scottish Government plans to introduce Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) which the industry warns will threaten jobs and investment.
Salmon farmers are also calling for an overhaul of the cluttered regulatory and planning system, and for more of the revenue from licence fees to be ring-fenced for rural housing.
Farm-raised salmon directly employs 2,500 people in Scotland and a further 10,000 jobs are dependent on the sector.
Fresh, whole Scottish salmon export sales between January and March reached £134 million, an 18% increase from the same period in 2022.
Despite the changes imposed by Brexit the EU remained the dominant market, with more than half of the sales, followed by North America (29%) and Asia (18%).
Salmon Scotland said there were further opportunities for growth in North America and Asia due to rising consumer demand and ongoing efforts to reduce trade barriers.
The trade body also recently unveiled an ambitious growth plan for Scotland’s premium ‘Label Rouge’ salmon to target European markets, aiming to increase its share to 15% by 2026.
With streamlined reform, further sustainable growth for Scotland’s rural communities is achievable, creating more high-paid, high-skilled local jobs.
Tavish Scott, chief executive of Salmon Scotland, said: “This demonstrates the extraordinary global success story of Scottish salmon which we can all be immensely proud of, and we are all benefitting from through thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of pounds for the economy.
“The increasing demand for Scottish salmon in Asia is a clear testament to its outstanding quality and taste.
“We are delighted that our farm-raised salmon is recognised as the world’s best and in high demand internationally.
“The remarkable growth of the Asian market, along with other regions, underscores the immense potential and opportunities for Scottish salmon.
“Given the critical importance of revenue generation by our farmers, particularly during the cost-of-living crisis, it is crucial for the Scottish Government to reconsider HMPA proposals.
“By doing so, we can fully unleash the potential of the sustainable blue economy, creating even greater benefits for coastal communities and turbocharging job creation.”
UK Government Minister for Scotland and Exports Malcolm Offord said: “The high-quality salmon that we have here in Scotland is already popular across the globe, and these figures show that this demand is growing.
“It’s important that we make the most of the opportunities in markets such as Asia, and maximise the potential for Scottish salmon.
“That’s why the UK Government is working tirelessly to reduce trade barriers internationally so that these exports figures can continue to grow.”