Scottish salmon exports to Asia doubled

The EU remained the dominant market for Scottish salmon exports, but North America and Asia accounted for almost half of all sales in the first three months of this year.
Scottish farmed Atlantic salmon. Photo: Adobe Stock.
Scottish farmed Atlantic salmon. Photo: Adobe Stock.

According to new figures from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), in the first quarter of 2023, Scottish salmon exports to Asia have doubled to £24 million (EUR 27.59 million / USD 29.80 million). Although European destinations continue to dominate exports, followed by the United States, the value of exports to Asia has soared by £12 million (EUR 13.79 million / USD 14.90 million), accompanied by a significant 97% increase in the volume of fish transported.

1,900 tons of fish transported to Asia

Export sales of fresh and whole Scottish salmon between January and March reached £134 million (EUR 154.06 / USD 166.43 million), up 18% in the same period in 2022. As mentioned, the EU remains the dominant market with more than half of Scottish salmon exports going to neighboring Europe, followed by North America, the destination for 29% of exports.

However, strong demand from China, Taiwan, Singapore, and South Korea has pushed exports to Asia into third place, with 18% of sales going to this region. China and Taiwan alone accounted for a combined market value growth of £12 million (EUR 13.79 million / USD 14.90 million) in the period. Singapore and South Korea also performed well, contributing significantly to the 1,900 tons of fish shipped to Asia.

"This demonstrates the extraordinary global success story of Scottish salmon which we can all be immensely proud of, and we are all benefitting from through thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of pounds for the economy. The increasing demand for Scottish salmon in Asia is a clear testament to its outstanding quality and taste", said Tavish Scott, CEO of Salmon Scotland. "The remarkable growth of the Asian market, along with other regions, underscores the immense potential and opportunities for Scottish salmon".

Asking for a streamlined reform

Nevertheless, the good news on Scottish salmon exports comes amid controversy over the Scottish Government's plans to introduce Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs), which threaten employment and investment in the sector. "Given the critical importance of revenue generation by our farmers, particularly during the cost-of-living crisis, it is crucial for the Scottish Government to reconsider HMPA proposals", claimed the CEO of the trade body for the Scottish salmon industry.

"By doing so, we can fully unleash the potential of the sustainable blue economy, creating even greater benefits for coastal communities and turbocharging job creation", he continued. Scottish salmon farmers are also calling for a review of the "cluttered" regulatory and planning system, and for more of the revenue from license fees to be spent on rural housing.

Salmon Scotland asserts that with streamlined reform, Scotland's rural communities will be able to continue to grow sustainably and create more well-paid, highly skilled local jobs. Farmed salmon directly employs 2,500 people in Scotland and a further 10,000 jobs depend on the sector.

About Salmon Scotland

Previously known as the Scottish Salmon Producers' Organisation (SSPO), Salmon Scotland is the trade body for the Scottish farmed salmon industry. It represents all companies farming salmon in Scotland, as well as companies throughout the Scottish salmon supply chain, and champion the interests of the industry, which supports 12,500 local jobs and contributes almost £800 million to the economy each year. Salmon Scotland also works with its members, the UK and Scottish governments, and regulatory bodies to help shape the regulatory environment so that both Scotland and its members can prosper.

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