Scottish fish farms give economy £3.3 billion boost
Scotland’s fish farms have delivered a £3.3 billion boost to the country’s economy over the last decade, official figures have revealed.
A Scottish Government report shows farmers’ economic contribution soared by 76% from £206 million in 2011 to £362m in 2020. Farming staff numbers also increased by nearly a third over the same period.
Trade body Salmon Scotland said the research shows that farm-raised salmon “generates vital wealth for the country”. According to the Scottish Government findings, aquaculture was the third largest marine contributor in Gross Value Added (GVA), only behind oil and gas, and construction and water transport services.
Farming accounted for 9.4% of the Scottish marine economy in 2020, compared to 7.3% for sea fishing at £284m. Labour productivity (GVA per worker) for farming was second only to freight water transport in providing £151,565 per head.
Over the decade, farmers grew 1.9m tonnes of nutritious fish worth £9bn, with sustainable production rising on average by 2.9% year-on-year. The report comes amid calls for an overhaul of the cluttered regulatory and planning system for salmon farming.
With streamlined reform, further sustainable growth for Scotland’s rural communities is achievable, creating more high-paid, high-skilled local jobs. Salmon accounts for 96% of Scotland’s aquaculture value, while recent HMRC data confirms that Scottish salmon is the UK’s largest food export.
Tavish Scott, chief executive of Salmon Scotland, said: “Scottish salmon generates vital wealth for the country, and specifically for our islands and Highland coastal communities.
“Farm-raised Scottish salmon is a global success story that everyone in Scotland can take pride in, putting the best-tasting and healthiest protein product on people’s plates and delivering the highest environmental and welfare standards.
“I pay tribute to the farmers and all those involved in the journey from egg to plate.
“All this has been achieved despite the incredible challenges of Covid and Brexit, and with the right government support – streamlined regulation, a more business-friendly approach to immigration in the post-Brexit environment, and action to tackle rural housing shortages – we can deliver further sustainable growth.”