From left: Hirose Abe, Mairi Gougeon, Véronique Ehanno from Scottish Quality Salmon, and Tavish Scott at the St Andrew’s Day reception in Paris.

Salmon Scotland chief praises French for help over exports

Sector made record earnings from sales to Europe last year despite challenges of Brexit

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Tavish Scott, chief executive of trade body Salmon Scotland, has thanked the French government for helping the sector overcome the export challenges posed by Brexit.

Scott was speaking at reception in Paris attended by Scottish Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon, Paris-based chef and sushi master Hirose Abe, with government officials and local media.

The event at the British Embassy was held ahead of St Andrew's Day tomorrow and celebrated Scottish food, as well as marking 30 years of Scottish salmon holding the Label Rouge quality mark in France.

The value of head-on gutted fresh Scottish salmon exported to France reached £304 million last year, up from the previous record of £221 m set in 2019, while the value of HOG salmon exported to the EU (including France) was £372 m.

Bureaucratic difficulties

“Any exporter, whether fish or beef, has had to cope with the UK’s decision to leave the European Union; our businesses have overcome the new bureaucratic difficulties to bring salmon to France as quickly and efficiently as possible,” said Scott.

“It is a testament to their perseverance and determination that Scottish salmon exports to the EU have actually increased since January 2021 (when the UK formally left the EU after a transition period).

“It has been a tough period but the rise in salmon sales to the EU shows just how important the French and wider European market is for our member export companies.

“I would particularly like to thank the French government and representatives in Edinburgh and London who have helped us overcome these challenges.”

Scottish salmon was the first non-French product to receive Label Rouge accreditation, which it still holds 30 years later.

Success story

Gougeon said: “This week as we celebrate all that Scotland has to offer on our national holiday, St Andrew’s Day, it is fitting that the Scottish salmon success story is high up on the agenda.”

The minister, whose portfolio includes aquaculture, said: “France is the largest export destination for Scottish salmon and accounts for just over 80% of all Scottish salmon exports to the EU.

“Together with our French counterparts, we marked the 30th anniversary of Scottish salmon having Label Rouge certification - the first non-French product to be awarded Label Rouge accreditation.

“This is testament to the quality of Scottish salmon as a product, which 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.”