Salmon Scotland labels Brexit red tape as cause of diminished European opportunities

A fish farm in the Scottish Highlands
A fish farm in the Scottish Highlands | Photo courtesy of David Dennis/Shutterstock
4 Min

When the United Kingdom left the European Union in January 2020, increased red tape and higher costs ensued for the nation’s seafood sector, especially in Scotland’s salmon-farming industry, which has missed out on GBP 100 million (USD 126.2 million, EUR 117 million) in annual exports, according to estimates from industry trade body Salmon Scotland.

In 2019, the Scottish salmon sector exported more than 53,000 metric tons (MT) to the E.U.; that figure fell to 44,000 MT in 2023. 

While Salmon Scotland notes export values to the bloc have fallen just 3 percent since 2019, reaching GBP 356 million (USD 449.4 million, EUR 416.4 million) in 2023 because strong demand has driven up prices, it calculated that if the sector had just maintained its volumes at 2019 levels, sales would have been above GBP 430 million (USD 542.8 million, EUR 503 million) last year.

This represents a deficit of around GBP 75 million (USD 94.7 million, EUR 87.7 million), but the GBP 100 million figure comes into play when factoring in sector growth at the rate expected before Brexit, it said.

“Huge growth” in other markets, particularly Asia and the U.S., have helped mitigate Brexit’s effects, according to the trade body. International sales of Scottish salmon were up

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