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October 5th 2022

Scottish salmon hands economy £760million boost

  • £766m in GVA for Scotland's economy
  • 20% rise in economic contribution since Covid
  • £1bn impact could soon be achieved

Scottish salmon now adds a staggering £760million-a-year to the country's economy, a new study has revealed.

Salmon Scotland's report on the farm-raised sector shows that its economic contribution soared by nearly 20 per cent last year when compared to 2019, driving Scotland's post-Covid recovery.

The trade body's chief executive Tavish Scott said the figures confirm that Scottish salmon is the "backbone of some of Scotland's most isolated areas" and the 'blue economy' will be key to helping communities through the cost-of-living crisis.

The full economic impact has been published amid calls for an overhaul of the cluttered regulatory and planning system for salmon farming.

With streamlined reform, further sustainable growth for Scotland's rural communities is achievable, creating more high-paid, high-skilled local jobs.

Having provided an additional £100million to the economy over two challenging years, Mr Scott said the right decision-making from governments could result in Scottish salmon generating as much as £1billion for the Scottish economy through sustainable growth.

The figures from Salmon Scotland show a direct economic contribution of £303million in Gross Value Added (GVA) in 2021, up nearly a fifth on pre-pandemic levels of £254million in 2019.

The sector also indirectly generated a further £397million in GVA through the supply chain, which supports jobs in every part of Scotland, including the major cities.

There was a further £66million positive impact in employment costs (up 22.2 per cent from £54million), benefitting local communities and companies like accommodation providers and retailers all year round, taking the combined total to £766million.

Salmon farming directly employs more than 2,500 people in fragile, coastal communities in rural Scotland, with a further 10,000 Scottish jobs dependent on the sector.

The report also breaks down the economic contribution the sector makes to Scotland's five salmon producing regions:

  • £224million across the north west Highlands
  • £151million in the Western Isles
  • £150million in Argyll and Bute
  • £137million in Shetland
  • £75million in Orkney.
Tavish Scott, chief executive of Salmon Scotland, said:

"Scottish salmon generates vital wealth for the country, and specifically for our islands and Highland coastal communities.

"Farm-raised salmon is the economic backbone of some of Scotland's most isolated areas, creating thousands of local jobs and opportunities.

"Everyone in the sector is part of a global success story with the highest environmental and welfare standards that puts the best-tasting and healthiest protein product on people's plates around the world.

"All this has been achieved by a dedicated workforce despite the incredible challenges of Covid and Brexit, so by tapping into salmon farming's full potential I am confident the blue economy can deliver even greater benefits for local communities - and could be worth £1billion to the Scottish economy in just a few years.

"It is imperative that the Scottish Government enables a framework that is both transparent and efficient and the UK Government works to address the post-Brexit challenges at the border to ensure that Scottish salmon can turbocharge the country's economy."