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October 20th 2023

Salmon Scotland and DFDS Logistics have highlighted the vital role of the aquaculture supply chain in a meeting with Scottish Cabinet Secretary Neil Gray.

Mr Gray visited DFDS Logistics in Larkhall, the largest provider of transportation services to the Scottish salmon sector, which makes daily deliveries to all major fish markets and distribution centres across the UK and Europe.

Scottish salmon is the UK’s biggest food export – sales reached £578 million in 2022 and the fish grown in the water off the Highlands and islands were transported to 54 countries.

But while the salmon are raised off the coast, the wider supply chain involves 3,600 Scottish companies across every part of the country.

There are around 10,000 jobs dependent on Scottish salmon, as well as a further 2,500 direct jobs in remote communities, which help contribute more than £760 million in GVA (gross value added) to the UK economy.

Neil Gray, the Cabinet Secretary for Wellbeing Economy, Fair Work and Energy, yesterday (THU) met with Tavish Scott, the chief executive of trade body Salmon Scotland, as well as David Cranston, EU operations manager with DFDS Logistics Scotland and the company’s operations manager Mark Kelly and general manager Mick Devine.

The visit took place at the main DFDS Logistics Scotland warehouse facility in Larkhall, South Lanarkshire, which is a custom-built distribution centre comprising of 5,000m² of chilled storage space, serviced by 29 loading bays.

The unique facility also boasts a state-of-the-art cold store with a 1,600 pallet capacity, and is supported by two satellite warehouses in Aberdeen and Boulogne Sur Mer, France.

France is the top export destination for Scottish salmon, where it is recognised as the best in the world, with a large volume of fresh fish processed in Boulogne Sur Mer.

Brexit has created extra red tape for the salmon sector, and Salmon Scotland continues to push the UK Government for an improved relationship with the EU that would generate further sustainable growth of Scotland’s most successful food sector.

The Scottish Government recently published its long-term vision for the nation’s aquaculture sector, recognising its “crucial role” in contributing to food security, net zero and high-skilled jobs.

Wellbeing Economy Secretary Neil Gray said:

“The Scottish Government recognises that aquaculture and its supply chain are a vital component of the Scottish economy and a significant provider of highly skilled jobs in some of our most fragile rural communities, with the sector generating approximately £885 million GVA and an estimated 11,700 jobs, while producing healthy and nutritious foods.

“Scottish salmon farming has a key role to play in supporting our goal to transition to a wellbeing economy, by delivering sustainable economic growth, improved food security and meeting our Net Zero targets.

“Our recently published ‘vision for sustainable aquaculture’ sets out our ambitions for the future of the sector, which operates within environmental limits, and delivers social and economic benefits for Scotland.

“I am pleased to have met with both Salmon Scotland and DFDS to learn more about how supply chain businesses are supporting the development of the salmon farming sector and to discuss how businesses and the Scottish Government can continue to work together to deliver on our ambitions set out in our National Strategy for Economic Transformation.”

Tavish Scott, Salmon Scotland Chief Executive, talks at DFDS Larkhall.

Tavish Scott, chief executive of Salmon Scotland, said:

“Our extraordinary global success story starts in the waters off Scotland’s Highlands and islands, but it also requires an immense contribution from the wider supply chain to ensure our nutritious fish end up on plates across the world.

“Thousands of companies all contribute to making Scottish salmon the UK’s biggest food export, with increasing global demand for our premium product.

“We welcome the Scottish Government’s vision which puts salmon farming at the heart of the country’s economic growth plans.

“Like all sectors, we face challenges from issues ranging from climate change to Brexit to rampant inflation, but by working together with government we can continue to grow a low carbon, highly nutritious food that sustains thousands of jobs in every part of Scotland.”

Mick Devine, operations director with DFDS Logistics Scotland, said: “It was a pleasure to welcome Neil Gray, Cabinet Secretary for Wellbeing, Economy and Fair-Work and energy to our Larkhall office, which is pivotal to DFDS’s operation in Scotland.

“We had the opportunity to show first hand our dedication to servicing the seafood sector, whilst discussing our future endeavours and commitment to reaching our sustainable goals.”