Statistics from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) reveal the value of salmon exports rose to £319 million. The revenue jump ties in with an increased production volume and a larger amount of salmon – 47,000 tonnes - shipped abroad.
France was the top market with sales of £109m, with the United States in second place with sales of £97m.
The largest trading region remains the European Union with total sales of £153m. Exports to the EU account for 49% of export value and 52% of the volume. Trade with Germany and Italy increased by 50% and 72% respectively.
Julie Hesketh-Laird, chief executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation, said: “This is an excellent start to 2019. The underlying international demand for Scottish salmon remains strong, which is hugely encouraging and supports the reputation that our delicious and quality product achieves globally.
“While France and the USA are still the largest country markets, we are seeing growth in many mature and emerging markets around the globe from Canada to the United Arab Emirates which underlines sustainable, growing demand for salmon.
“This uptick in overseas exports returns Scottish salmon sales to levels we would expect to see, helping secure its reputation in world markets and safeguarding the innovation, investment and valued jobs the industry supports across Scotland.
“We must not take this growth for granted. It is vital that salmon farmers have the right home environment in which they can continue to meet the demand from overseas and that the UK and Scottish Governments work together to ensure that easy movement to our biggest market – Europe – remains available as the UK exits the EU.”
Sales to China fell by 21% but it remained the third most valuable export market (£37m), followed by Ireland (£14m) and Taiwan (£12m), where sales rose by 15%.
There was also growth in some Asian and Oceania markets, including Japan where sales rose 85%.
In all, Scottish salmon was exported to 47 countries.