Salmon sales to EU rise in spite of Brexit fears
Scottish salmon producers have again defied Brexit critics by increasing sales to the EU.
Poland (up 48%) and the Netherlands (up 114%) – now the fourth and sixth biggest global markets – reflect a growth in other EU hub and redistribution markets. EU export sales were up by 3% to £173 million in the first half of the year.
Other countries that saw the largest increases by value were the US, China, Taiwan – up by a staggering 174% – Singapore, Japan and Spain as overall sales in the first half of the year rose by 9%.
France remains by far the top international destination for Scottish salmon, and although sales to the country dipped 5% in the first half of the year, this was more than offset by wider global demand.
Premium ‘Label Rouge’ salmon – which carries the French quality mark for being the best in the world – currently accounts for around 12% of exports, and there is a vision to grow this to 15% by 2026, tapping into the markets in Germany, Spain and Italy where the quality mark is increasingly recognised.
A healthy level of salmon sales to the EU belies continuing claims by the SNP other critics of Brexit that Scottish firms have seen no gains after leaving the bloc.
Tavish Scott, chief executive of trade group Salmon Scotland, said: “The first half of the year has been another period of incredible success for Scottish salmon.
“As well as providing hundreds of millions of pounds for the UK economy and creating thousands of jobs, Scottish salmon also ensures that remote coastal communities can thrive.”
Non-EU exports rose by 19% as producers sought out new markets and built sales with existing customers.
Overall salmon export sales last year came in at £578 million, still below the record figure of £617 million in 2019, but the new figures indicate that Scottish salmon is heading for another successful year.
Although the volume of fish transported overseas fell marginally, this reflected tight global supplies – while the increased international demand is pushing prices up.
Separately, the UK domestic market for salmon is valued at around £1.2 billion-a-year, and the sector’s Gross Value Added (GVA) is worth £766 million for the Scottish and UK economy.
Farm-raised salmon directly employs 2,500 people in Scotland and a further 10,000 jobs are dependent on the sector.
UK Government Minister for Scotland and Exports, Lord Malcolm Offord, said: “These are incredibly encouraging figures for Scottish salmon exports and point towards another strong year for the sector.
“From the US to China exports are rising for our high quality produce, showing the demand that exists for it across the globe.
“It cements salmon’s position as one of the UK’s top exports, and the UK Government will do all we can to help the sector continue this growth in the months and years to come.”