How the salmon industry has been the driving force behind the Scottish export boom
As Scotland’s largest salmon farming company celebrates 50 years of production this year, it’s worth looking back to reflect on the many successes the industry has enjoyed over this short time. Born from an experimental concept, Scotland’s salmon farming industry has grown sustainably over the years to become Scotland’s number one food export, and for the first time last year, it became the UK’s largest food export.
Differentiating itself from other Atlantic salmon producing nations, quality and full traceability remains firmly at the forefront, backed by the industry’s comprehensive 500 point Code of Good Practice standards, which is held in the highest regard by other aquaculture producing nations around the world.
Scottish salmon has been leading the food export revolution as Scotland becomes increasingly recognised as a high quality food producing nation. Although still as popular at home, Scottish salmon was demanded by over 65 countries, gracing the tables of some of the finest restaurants in the world. Exports reached £500m last year with the USA, France and China remaining the most popular export destinations.
With its reputation for quality, taste and versatility, coupled by the many health benefits it offers, in a world where eating healthily is becoming more and more important, it should be no surprise that consumers are choosing Scottish salmon.
Scottish salmon was the first fish, and the first non-French product to be awarded the prestigious Label Rouge, a quality mark awarded by the French Government reserved for food considered to be of exceptional quality and taste. It also celebrates 11 years of PGI (protected geographical indication) this year, placing it alongside Champagne and whisky as products of distinct, regional characteristics.
To keep up with demand, the industry has worked tirelessly to grow production to almost 165,000 tonnes. However, more consents are required if the industry is to remain on course to reach the growth target of 210,000 tonnes by 2020.
Scott Landsburgh, chief executive of Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation said:
‘The Scottish salmon industry is much applauded international success is resulting in a positive economic impact in Scotland and especially in the five key areas where the industry operates.
‘For the past six years, SSPO has been reporting economic success in the Scottish farmed salmon industry.’ Last year continued this positive message with heartening news on jobs and spending on suppliers and services. This ongoing wealth creation in some of the most remote areas of
Last year Scottish salmon was demanded by over 65 countries, with
exports reaching £500 million”
Scotland demonstrates enduring economic sustainability that the Scottish Government seeks from all sectors of the food industry.
‘Employment news is particularly good, with full-time jobs overall growing by 10 per cent, to reach over 2000 for the first time’, said Landsburgh. ‘Part-time work has also increased by 13 per cent. With employees remaining, on average, in their position for 8.57 years, the industry stands out as one of Scotland’s most trusted employers.’
Adding to this good news, there was a further climb in the number of people taking part in Modern Apprenticeships last year, taking the official number to 91.
Landsburgh continued: ‘Apprentices bring many benefits to businesses and individuals while adding to the vibrancy of the Scottish economy. They also help to safeguard business sustainability and offer a lifeline for many remote communities.’
Clockwise from top: More consents are required if the 2020 growth target is to be reached; Marine Harvest inspect some salmon; Scottish salmon is served in the finest restaurants worldwide; the industry is one of Scotland’s most trusted employers