Scottish salmon exports to Asia more than doubled to £24 million in the first three months of this year in response to growing demand, new HMRC figures show.
In total, export sales of fresh, whole Scottish salmon between January and March reached £134 million, an 18% increase on the same period of 2022.
Farm-raised salmon directly employs 2,500 people in Scotland and a further 10,000 jobs are dependent on the sector.
European destinations continue to dominate as the main international market for Scottish salmon, but North America and Asia accounted for 47% of all sales in the period, driven by strong demand from China, Taiwan, Singapore, and South Korea.
The value of exports to Asia has soared by £12 million, accompanied by a 97% increase in the volume of fish transported.
The EU remained the dominant market, with over half of the sales, followed by North America (29%) and Asia (18%).
Trade body Salmon Scotland said there are further opportunities for growth in North America and Asia due to rising consumer demand and ongoing efforts to reduce trade barriers.
The trade body also recently unveiled an ambitious growth plan for Scotland’s premium Label Rouge salmon to target European markets, aiming to increase its share to 15% by 2026.
Salmon Scotland said the latest export figures come “amid a backlash over Scottish Government plans to introduce Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) which threaten jobs and investment.”
The trade group said salmon farmers are also calling for an overhaul of the cluttered regulatory and planning system, and for more of the revenue from licence fees to be ringfenced for rural housing.
Salmon Scotland CEO Tavish Scott said: “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.
“We are delighted that our farm-raised salmon is recognised as the world’s best and in high demand internationally.
“The remarkable growth of the Asian market, along with other regions, underscores the immense potential and opportunities for Scottish salmon.
“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.
“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.”