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December 14th 2023

The direct economic contribution of Scotland’s aquaculture sector has increased by 154 per cent to £472 million over a decade, a new government report has revealed.

The Scottish Government’s ‘marine economy statistics’ for 2021 confirm the vital role of Scottish salmon, which makes up 96 per cent of this sector.

Bouncing back from Covid, GVA (gross value added) rose 30 per cent from £362 million between 2020 and 2021, according to the report, while employment has risen 20 per cent over the decade.

The entire marine economy generated £4.5 billion in 2021, which is still dominated by oil and gas (£1.88 billion) although this industry has decreased by 37 per cent over the decade.

This is followed by marine tourism (£494 million) then aquaculture, while fishing contributed £321 million to the Scottish economy and shipbuilding generated £403 million.

The figures for the salmon sector do not include the wider supply chain, which also adds hundreds of millions of pounds to the economy.
There are around 2,500 direct jobs in Scottish salmon and around 10,000 indirect jobs.

Tavish Scott, chief executive of Salmon Scotland, said:

“The hard work of Scotland’s salmon farmers in the Highlands and islands directly generates £1.3 million every day for Scotland’s economy, fuelled by increasing demand for our nutritious fish at home and abroad.

“Government figures show our sector is the third biggest in the entire marine economy – larger now than fishing and shipbuilding.

“We can deliver further sustainable growth with the continued support of government and more streamlined regulation, ensuring the extraordinary success story of Scottish salmon remains something we can all be incredibly proud of.”