The value of Scottish salmon exports has risen 7% in a year as international demand continues to grow.
New HMRC data analysed by trade body Salmon Scotland shows that for the first three quarters of 2023 to September there was a rise of £33 million to £478 million.
On a rolling annual basis, exports of Scottish salmon stand at £611 million – confirming Scottish salmon’s place as the UK’s top food export.
In the first nine months of the year, 53,000 tonnes of Scottish salmon were exported to more than 50 countries, enough for more than 250 million meals.
The EU continues to be the biggest destination for salmon exports, accounting for £287 million worth of the total over the first three quarters.
France remains the single largest market for Scottish salmon, with sales of £211 million.
Elsewhere, exports of Scottish salmon beyond the EU increased 15% to £191 million, with 20% of salmon heading to the US (£113 million – up 11%).
And export growth to Asia increased 41% in value and 42% in volume to £66 million and 5,400 tonnes respectively.
Salmon Scotland said it is currently taking steps to protect the premium product from food fraud, where inferior salmon products with lower environmental and food safety standards are imported and could be sold as “Scottish salmon.”
In 2004, genuine Scottish salmon was awarded with a protected geographic indication, or PGI, which means only farm-raised Atlantic salmon from Scotland can be called “Scottish farmed salmon.”
Wild Scottish salmon is not sold in supermarkets, and farm-raised salmon now supplies 100% of the increasing demand for fresh Atlantic salmon.
“The UK Government has therefore been asked to boost the legal protections for farm-raised Scottish salmon, particularly post-Brexit, by changing the PGI name simply to ‘Scottish salmon’,” said Salmon Scotland.
Salmon Scotland CEO Tavish Scott said: “These export figures underline the vital importance of Scottish salmon to the UK economy.
“Global demand for nutritious, fresh Scottish salmon continues to rise, providing hundreds of millions of healthy, nutritious meals, and supporting thousands of well paid, long-term jobs here in Scotland.
“Potential changes to the legal protection for Scottish salmon will help to maintain the reputation for premium Scottish salmon abroad, as well as protecting against food fraud, which risks undermining the reputation Scottish salmon has for quality and provenance.”