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March 8th 2022

The farmed salmon sector contributes over £640 million to the Scottish economy every year and provides direct employment for over 2,500 people in Scotland that's according to findings from Salmon Scotland's economic quarterly report.

Salmon is primarily produced around the West Coast, Highland and Islands, and remote and rural areas of Scotland yet, the supply chain reaches every corner of the country. In this blog we'll explain the data that reveals the economic benefits Scottish farm-raised salmon provides for the Scottish economy and rural communities.

Salmon is in high demand!

Following the pandemic, more markets—domestically and internationally—are becoming more accessible and as a result, the demand for Scottish salmon continues to recover. In 2021, exports were back to pre-pandemic levels and almost reaching record highs.

The European Union dominated the market for Scottish salmon exports in 2021, and the expectation is that the range of global markets will increase the calls for Scottish salmon as hospitality and entertainment venues re-open and restrictions ease.

Over the course of 2021, the Scottish salmon sector exported to over 50 countries globally, helping maintain its position as the number one fresh food export from the UK.

Sustaining Scotland's regional communities

International markets are integral to Scotland's regional production areas across the Highlands and Islands, West Coast, and other rural areas of the country.

These markets provide continued investment across the salmon farming community, help to pay the 3,600 companies and 10,000 people involved in the Scottish salmon supply chain, and allow continued developments in new technology and techniques, which only moves the aquaculture sector forward.

Find out more about the ways in which Scottish salmon farms support rural communities here.

At home dining

While export markets have started to recover, consumers here in the UK are buying more salmon too.

With COVID-19 restrictions limiting restaurant visits for many, people in 2021 were expanding their at-home menus, with almost 5% more chilled fish bought in UK supermarkets than there was in 2020. Most importantly, salmon remains the most popular fish bought in UK supermarkets.


These incredibly encouraging figures demonstrate the high global demand for the unrivalled quality of farm-raised Scottish salmon, and the resilience of the aquaculture sector. It is testament to the hard work and dedication of farmers to sustainable growth in the face of increased costs for exports to recover to near record-levels after such a challenging period.

As well as creating thousands of jobs and opportunities here at home, farm-raised Scottish salmon is a global success story with high environmental and welfare standards that puts the best-tasting and healthiest protein product on people's plates.

Read the full Salmon Scotland Economic Quarterly Report.