Scottish salmon exports on course for record year

A vessel attending to a Scottish salmon farm's net pen
A vessel attending to a Scottish salmon farm's net pen | Photo courtesy of Phil Silverman/Shutterstock
6 Min

Overseas sales of Scottish salmon reached GBP 645 million (USD 817.4 million, EUR 762.8 million) in the 12 months ending April 2024, an 11 percent increase year over year and the highest level reached in five years, new U.K. government figures have confirmed.

Analyzing the latest customs data, trade body Salmon Scotland determined that in the first four months of 2024 alone, the value of exports soared to GBP 250 million (USD 316.8 million, EUR 295.7 million), representing a 36 percent rise on the corresponding period of last year. The volume of salmon products shipped increased 35 percent to 26,000 metric tons (MT) over the same time frame.

If growth continues as it has in the back half of the year, 2024 could set a record for international sales of Scottish salmon – the U.K’s top food export – Salmon Scotland said.

The E.U. continued to be the main destination for Scottish salmon, accounting for a GBP 153 million (USD 193.9 million, EUR 181 million) share of the January-to-April export total. Sales to the bloc rose by GBP 53 million (USD 67.2 million, EUR 62.7 million) year over year, while volume was up 51 percent to almost 17,000 MT.

France was the single largest market within the bloc for Scottish salmon, with the country buying up GBP 143 million (USD 181.2 million, EUR 169.2 million) worth.

Exports of Scottish salmon to non-E.U. markets increased 14 percent to GBP 97 million (USD 122.9 million, EUR 114.7 million), with almost one in five of those salmon heading to the U.S., where sales in the four-month period totaled GBP 56 million (USD 71 million, EUR 66.2 million) a year-over-year increase of 13 percent.

At the same time, there was a 17 percent boost in the value and a 31 percent spike in the volume shipped of Scottish salmon exports to Asia – reaching GBP 37 million (USD 46.9 million, EUR 43.8 million) and 3,300 MT, respectively. Sales to the Chinese market increased GBP 5 million (USD 6.3 million, EUR 5.9 million) in the period to GBP 26 million (USD 33 million, EUR 30.8 million).

Salmon Scotland CEO Tavish Scott said the new export figures reflect the immense reputational and economic value of Scottish salmon.

“As exports continue to rise, enhanced legal protection under the U.K. government's Protected Geographical Indication [PGI] scheme will safeguard the Scottish salmon brand both domestically and internationally,” he said, referring to a labeling amendment recently made by the U.K.’s Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (Defra) in April this year that allows only farm-raised salmon from Scotland to be called “Scottish salmon.”

As the consumption of wild Atlantic salmon effectively ended over a decade ago, the move was intended to ensure

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