Scots salmon is UK’s biggest food export at £578m

Scottish salmon was the UK’s biggest food export in 2022, despite the volume of fish transported overseas falling 26%, new HMRC figures have revealed.

Sales of Scottish salmon reached £578 million in the calendar year, with France leading the global demand.

The 2022 Scottish salmon export sales of £578 million were down just 6% on 2021 and a similar rate below the record £617 million in 2019.

European destinations dominated as the sector continued to bounce back from Brexit. Scottish salmon was exported to 54 countries, with North America and Asia reporting strong demand.

Salmon Scotland said the volume of salmon transported overseas fell 26% “reflecting tight supplies globally and more Scottish salmon being sold in the UK domestic market – which is valued at around £1.2 billion-a-year.”

Overseas Scottish salmon sales outperformed all the UK’s other main food exports including bakery goods, chocolate, cheese, cereals and lamb.

Farm-raised salmon directly employs 2,500 people in Scotland and a further 10,000 jobs are dependent on the sector.

The EU accounted for almost 64% of sales, with US and Chinese markets remaining popular.

Salmon Scotland CEO Tavish Scott said: “Scottish salmon is an extraordinary global success story that we can all be immensely proud of, supporting thousands of jobs and contributing hundreds of millions of pounds to the UK economy.

“With such pressure on public services during the cost-of-living crisis, the revenue generated by our farmers has never been more important.

“Scottish salmon, grown sustainably in the cold waters off our west coast, is recognised as the best in the world – which is why it is in such high international demand.

“Through responsible growth of the blue economy we can help feed the world, rearing one of the most nutritious foods that we can eat.

“Thank you to everyone involved from egg to plate for delivering such a successful year for Scottish salmon.”

The Scottish Government’s Rural Affairs & Islands Cabinet Secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “It is fantastic to see strong sales of Scottish salmon in 2022 and I want to congratulate everyone in the sector on another successful year.

“Scottish salmon is a world-renowned brand and its success is testament to the quality of Scottish salmon as a product.

“That is why we are committed to our ongoing work to encourage investment in research, development and innovation in Scotland’s aquaculture sector alongside robust management measures, so that consumers can continue to have confidence in the sustainability of Scottish seafood.

“Food and drink is one of our priority export sectors and the continued growth in global markets means more jobs and investment across Scotland.

“We will continue to engage with and listen to the Scottish salmon industry to understand how we can improve export opportunities and remove barriers to trade.”