Thursday 12th August

Scotland’s salmon farmers sold more fresh fish to the EU in the first half of 2021 than ever before according to HMRC export figures released today.

Official stats showed that 33,638 tonnes of whole, fresh salmon were exported to the EU in the first half of 2021 which is the highest figure on record. Demand has continued to rise since the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO), the trade body that represents Scotland’s salmon farmers, announced in May that a record-breaking amount was exported to the EU in the first quarter and the sector is now confident that salmon export volumes have returned to pre-pandemic levels.

However, the SSPO said that while the amount of salmon being sold was encouraging, value had dipped alarmingly since the start of the year. Poor market conditions mean that while total export volumes are up by 63% compared with last year, value did not increase at a corresponding rate, only increasing by 42%. Additionally, salmon farmers continue to face increased costs since the UK left the EU.

These figures demonstrate the sectors resilience in facing unprecedented challenges to ensure the efficient supply process that it’s international customers value.

Tavish Scott, Chief Executive of the SSPO said that the additional burdens caused by Brexit have cost Scotland’s salmon farmers at least £11 million, but that despite this he is confident that 2021 will deliver impressive results for the sector.

Mr Scott said: “We are delighted to see such strong demand for our salmon internationally, which demonstrates the importance of our sector as an economic driver of Scotland’s rural economy. The jobs and communities we have been able to support during such a difficult year is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the employees throughout the entire sector. Scottish salmon is truly an economic success story that we can all be proud of.

He added: “Despite much reason for celebration, we cannot deny that we are disappointed that the value of our award-winning salmon remains suppressed due to intense marketplace competition and fallout from Brexit’s impact on our supply chains.”

He also warned that the extra bureaucratic burdens placed on salmon producers by Brexit were undermining margins still further and costing the sector £120,000 a month extra just in paperwork.


Salmon exports 2021 H1 – compared with 2020

Exports of Scottish Salmon Jan-Jun 2021 Volume (tonnes) Change yoy Value (£GBP) Change yoy
Total 50,635t +63% £303.0m +42%
EU 33,638t +67% £183.4m +43%
Rest of World 16,997t +54% £119.6m +41%

Salmon exports 2021 H1 – compared with 2019 (pre-pandemic)

Exports of Scottish Salmon Jan-Jun 2021 Volume (tonnes) Change vs. 2019 Value (£GBP) Change vs. 2019
Total 50,635t +7% £303.0m -5%
EU 33,638t +36% £183.4m +18%
Rest of World 16,997t -25% £119.6m -27%

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