EXPORTS of Scottish farmed salmon soared by 56 per cent to £483 million in the first nine months of this year, new figures reveal.
In the past three months alone, 21,000 tonnes of fresh salmon were exported worth £136 million, up 29 per cent in value and 25 per cent in volume over the same period last year, according to the latest HMRC statistics.
France overtook the US as the largest market, with sales worth nearly £45 million, while exports to the US were worth just over £37 million, and trade with China rose to £14 million.
East Asian markets continued to grow, with Taiwan making it into the top five markets, with sales of £6.5 million.
Scott Landsburgh, chief executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation (SSPO), said: ‘The demand for Scottish salmon continues to grow in recognition of its taste, quality and provenance.
‘It is evident that the production standards and commitment to quality are fully recognised around the world, and no more so than in France. It is fitting that as we celebrate 25 years of holding the Label Rouge award sales in France have reached an all-time high.
‘Arguably, France is the most discerning culinary nation in the world and it has been a marvellous tribute to everyone who works on our salmon farms that, year after year, the French inspectors have rewarded us with this accolade.
‘The continuing export success of Scottish salmon is a trail-blazer for other Scottish food overseas and a major contributor to rural Scotland.
‘Our achievement means that young people, communities and local suppliers all benefit from the economic success.’
Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: ‘Scottish salmon is an iconic product and these latest export figures reflect the strength of the industry and the potential it has to grow further.
‘The EU remains the biggest single regional market for salmon, importing salmon worth £215 million in the first nine months of 2017.
‘We will continue to work with industry to develop new and existing markets and in line with Scotland’s Food and Drink 2030 ambition, focus on key markets, boost innovation, focus on skills and support local producers to realise our ambitious plans.’
James Withers, chief executive of Scotland Food and Drink, said: ‘These phenomenal figures show the growing demand for Scotland’s high quality, premium food and drink products across the world.
‘Scotland is now home to the UK’s biggest drink export in Scotch whisky and the biggest food export in Scottish salmon. They continue to lead the way.
‘The growth in overseas markets is testament to the hard work of our trade specialists based across North America, Europe, the Middle East and Far East. They are opening doors with leading buyers and forging new opportunities for our Scottish food and drink companies. As a result, 2017 is shaping up to be another export record breaker for food and drink.’
Picture: SSPO chief executive Scott Landsburgh