SSPO: Rising investment in salmon farming a ‘vote of confidence’ for industry
Investment in Scottish salmon farming has continued to increase, signaling “a significant vote of confidence” in the long-term sustainability of the sector, according to a new study compiled by the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO).
SSPO’s latest economic report finds capital investment in Scottish salmon farming totaled GBP 63.1 million (USD 78.5 million, EUR 73.6 million) last year, an increase of 16 percent.
“The last few years have seen an increased confidence in salmon farming based on the quality of our fish, the international recognition of our standards of production and the investment in people, technology and innovation. This is an important boost to local and national economies and I’m delighted that the results in this report continue to emphasis how important salmon farming is to Scotland’s food industry and the wider economy,” said Scott Landsburgh, chief executive of SSPO.
While currency issues during 2015 affected exports, including a drop in trade with the U.S. market and a small rise in volumes to the European Union, market confidence returned and positive export figures for 2016 are anticipated, said SSPO.
Scotland’s highlands and islands particularly benefited from the sector, with total gross pay rising by 12 percent to GBP 71 million (USD 88.3 million, EUR 82.9 million). And beyond pay increases, more than 2,300 companies in these areas did business with salmon farming companies, with total expenditure reaching GBP 147 million (USD 182.9 million, EUR 171.5 million).
Commenting on the report’s findings, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity Fergus Ewing said salmon farming, its service and supply chain had a key role to play in building growth across the nation’s rural and coastal communities.
“It sustains employment and provides investment, particularly in some of Scotland’s most remote coastal communities, creating new jobs and career opportunities for young people and modern apprenticeships,” Ewing said.
The country, which ranks third in the world in terms of salmon production, harvested 152,000 metric tons (MT) of salmon last year, down from a record 170,022 MT in 2014, as a result of biological challenges. The industry currently generates around GBP 800 million (USD 995 million, EUR 933.4 million) for the Scottish economy.