New figures released by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) confirm that salmon exports for the first half of 2017 reached a record value of £346 million, a 70 per cent increase in export value on the same period last year.
The second quarter of this year saw 29,000 tonnes of fresh salmon worth £190m exported representing a 22 per cent increase in export value over the first quarter. The USA remains the largest market while China remains the most significant Asian market, worth £44m so far this year. Notable in the official statistics is growth in Taiwan and Japan which together accounted for just under £9m in Q2.
Scott Landsburgh, chief executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers' Organisation (SSPO) chief executive, said that the Far East is on course to develop into a major export market behind the USA. Ahead of the Japan Seafood Expo (23- 25 August) where Scottish salmon and seafood is a major attraction, Landsburgh said: “The development of the Far East marketplace is a huge programme of work and the fact that annual Chinese exports are now worth around £90 million from a standing start six or seven years ago indicates that this has been worth the effort. East Asian markets are becoming increasingly significant, with Taiwan and Vietnam in the top ten importers.
“We continue to see the huge global opportunity for high quality Scottish food and for salmon, in particular. Quality and provenance are highly prized in all markets and Scottish salmon fits the bill. Its traceability from source to plate is another respected attribute in the Far East.”
Landsburgh acknowledged the support that the sector has received from the Scottish Government and Scotland Food and Drink for committing resources to the international export strategy for food and drink.
“Fergus Ewing, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, has championed the export strategy and is a keen supporter of food production the length and breadth of Scotland. We welcome his ambition to see the industry grow and it is our job to get on and deliver that.”
James Withers, chief executive of Scotland Food & Drink said: “This is a phenomenal set of salmon export results and demonstrates the growing global demand for world class Scottish products.
"The growth in the Far East reflects the talent of salmon producers here and also the hard work of the trade specialists now embedded by the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership in priority export markets. We’re also seeing exceptional growth in other core markets such as North America where salmon sales have nearly doubled versus the first half of 2016 to £133m.
“As consumers overseas look for high quality products with a strong story behind them, few countries are as well placed to succeed in the coming years as Scotland. Our sales of Scottish food globally have risen 110 per cent to £1.5 billion over the last 10 years but we have greater potential still.
“It is great to see our food exports following in the footsteps our number one export, Scotch whisky, which is also showing continued growth this year.”
Testament to hard work
Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “This is good news for Scotland’s aquaculture industry, clearly demonstrating that demand is growing around the world for quality salmon. It is proof that our industry is thriving and testament to the hard work going on between government, stakeholders and industry to support sustainable growth and access to new markets.
“Particularly pleasing is the success of our work to unlock more markets in the Far East, which have been key industry target areas. However, this success simply underlines the importance of ensuring Scotland’s food and drink exports are protected from the potentially damaging consequences of Brexit.”