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December 1st 2022

Scottish salmon at heart of St Andrew's Day celebrations in France

Scottish salmon has been celebrated at a St Andrew's Day reception in Paris.

The chief executive of trade body Salmon Scotland, Tavish Scott, joined Scottish Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon and acclaimed chef Hirose Abe at the British Embassy in the French capital for an event with government officials and local media.

The celebration of Scottish food and drink also marked 30 years of Scottish salmon holding the prestigious 'Label Rouge' quality mark in France, the official recognition by the French authorities of the superior quality of a food or farmed product.

The French market for Scottish salmon has boomed in recent years, with exports up from £221million in 2019 to a record £304million last year - accounting for a staggering 50 per cent of the value of all salmon exports.
Scottish salmon is the UK's biggest food export, followed by bread and pastries, chocolate, cereals, and cheese.

Mr Scott said salmon companies have "overcome the new bureaucratic difficulties" caused by Brexit to bring salmon to France "as quickly and efficiently as possible".

Scotland's farm-raised salmon sector directly employs more than 2,500 people in Scotland and supports more than 3,600 suppliers and a further 10,000 indirect jobs.

Scottish Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said:

"This week as we celebrate all that Scotland has to offer on our national holiday, St Andrew's Day, it is fitting that the Scottish salmon success story is high up on the agenda.

"I was pleased to be in Paris to continue the close collaboration between the governments of Scotland and France and to consider ways in which we can support exports of salmon to the EU and France, in particular.

"France is the largest export destination for Scottish salmon and accounts for just over 80 per cent of all Scottish salmon exports to the EU.

"Together with our French counterparts, we marked the 30th anniversary of Scottish salmon having Label Rouge certification - the first non-French product to be awarded Label Rouge accreditation.

"This is testament to the quality of Scottish salmon as a product, which is why we are committed to our ongoing work to encourage investment in research, development and innovation in Scotland's aquaculture sector alongside robust management measures, so that consumers can continue to have confidence in the sustainability of Scottish seafood."

Tavish Scott, chief executive of Salmon Scotland, said at the event:

"Scotland and France have a long and fruitful history of friendship and collaboration.

"These days Scotland and France collaborate in products and markets, and we are immensely proud to be at the heart of this new 'Auld Alliance gastronomique'.

"Today, France is Scottish salmon's biggest and most important market. About 10,000 tonnes of Label Rouge salmon comes to France every year - salmon that is served in restaurants, hotels and residences all over the country.

"We understand the French appreciation of Scottish salmon's superior quality and we appreciate and thank the discerning French customers who buy our fish."

He added:

"Any exporter, whether fish or beef, has had to cope with the UK's decision to leave the European Union; our businesses have overcome the new bureaucratic difficulties to bring salmon to France as quickly and efficiently as possible.

"It is a testament to their perseverance and determination that Scottish salmon exports to the EU have actually increased since January 2021.

"It has been a tough period but the rise in salmon sales to the EU shows just how important the French and wider European market is for our member export companies.

"I would particularly like to thank the French government and representatives in Edinburgh and London who have helped us overcome these challenges."