Scottish salmon exports hit £645 million as volume rises 35%

Editorial Staff

Scottish salmon exports have surged to £645 million, reaching their highest level in five years, driven by growing international demand.

New HMRC data analyzed by trade body Salmon Scotland reveals that in the first four months of 2024, the value of exports increased by £65 million to £250 million, marking a 36 percent rise compared to the same period last year.

This was accompanied by a 35 percent increase in the volume of fish transported.

On a rolling annual basis, exports now stand at £645 million, representing an 11 percent increase over last year’s total of £581 million and marking the highest sales value since 2019.

Salmon Scotland indicated that if the current growth trend continues, 2024 could set a record for international sales, reinforcing salmon’s position as the UK’s top food export.

The trade body has called for the next UK Government to reduce post-Brexit red tape, publishing a manifesto urging the winner of the July 4 general election to improve relations with the European Union to boost exports. They advocate for the introduction of electronic export health certificates and the elimination of unnecessary paperwork, which has cost salmon farmers an estimated £3 million annually since Brexit.

Farm-raised salmon directly employs 2,500 people in Scotland, with an additional 10,000 jobs dependent on the sector. In the first four months of the year, 26,000 tonnes of Scottish salmon were exported to over 40 countries, enough for more than 100 million meals. The EU remains the primary destination, accounting for £153 million of the total between January and April. Sales to the EU increased by £53 million, with volume up by 51 percent to almost 17,000 tonnes. France continues to be the largest market, with sales of £143 million.

Beyond the EU, exports increased by 14 percent to £97 million, with the US receiving £56 million, up 13 percent. Export growth in Asia rose by 17 percent in value and 31 percent in volume, reaching £37 million and 3,300 tonnes, respectively. China added £5 million in market value growth, totaling £26 million for the period.

Tavish Scott, chief executive of Salmon Scotland, emphasized the importance of the industry, stating: “The reputational and economic value of Scottish salmon is immense, as reflected in these latest export figures. Given the critical importance of revenue generation by our farmers, particularly during the cost-of-living crisis, whoever is handed the keys to Number 10 must streamline the export process for fresh Scottish salmon, ensuring quicker delivery to our customers. We eagerly anticipate working with the next UK Government to expand exports and boost national prosperity.”

Scott highlighted the role of salmon farming in Scotland’s economic growth, job creation in Highland and island communities, and supplying low-carbon, protein-rich food to meet global needs.


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