Scottish salmon export value touches £306m in H1 2023 amidst rising global demand

Scottish salmon export value touches £306m in H1 2023 amidst rising global demand

Scottish salmon exports have racked up an impressive £306 million in sales between January and June, driven predominantly by the increasing demand in Asian and American markets.

Recent data highlights that Scotland’s salmon export sales grew 9% first half of 2023. The primary benefactors of this increase in sales, by value, were the USA, China, Poland, and Taiwan. Meanwhile, other markets such as the Netherlands, Singapore, Japan, and Spain demonstrated substantial percentage growth.

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.

Within the EU, the new figures for countries like Poland and the Netherlands – now the fourth and sixth biggest global markets – reflect a growth in other EU hub and redistribution markets.

Overall, non-EU exports rose significantly by 19% in the first half of 2023 to £132m, with EU export sales up by 3% to £173m.

Salmon Scotland analysis of HMRC figures, shows a detailed breakdown of the growth in key markets between the first half of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022:

  • USA up 10% to £77m.
  • China up 57% to £12m.
  • Poland up 48% to £17m.
  • Taiwan up 174% to £9m.
  • Netherlands up 114% to £9m.

In the 2022 calendar year, fresh, whole Scottish salmon export sales of £578m were recorded, while the record figure was £617m in 2019, and the new figures indicate that Scottish salmon is heading for another very successful year.

Although the volume of fish transported overseas fell marginally, this reflected tight global supplies – and the increased international demand is pushing prices up.

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.

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 £766m 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.

Scottish salmon export value touches £306m in H1 2023 amidst rising global demand

Tavish Scott

Tavish Scott, chief executive of Salmon Scotland, said: “The first half of the year has been another period of incredible success for Scottish salmon, reflecting the hard work and dedication of our farmers and the growing demand internationally for our nutritious fish.

“Grown sustainably in the waters off our west coast, with animal welfare a top priority for farmers and vets, the quality of Scottish salmon is recognised worldwide which is why it is the UK’s top food export.

“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.

“Both the UK and Scottish governments rightly recognise the potential for continued sustainable growth, so that Scotland can lead the world in the blue economy and grow one of the most nutritious foods we can eat.

“While we face the same challenges as many sectors – including too much red tape, labour shortages, housing supply issues and the impact of climate change – the extraordinary success of our sector is something to be incredibly proud of.”

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.”

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