Scotland’s salmon farmers exported a record amount of fresh fish to the European Union in the first quarter of 2021 with demand for Scottish salmon by continental customers remaining strong despite significant post-Brexit disruptions to supply in early January.
Figures compiled by the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO) from information supplied by all of Scotland’s salmon producers reveal that 19,410 tonnes of Scottish salmon, worth more than £100 million, were exported to the EU in Q1 of this year. That is an increase of over 8,200 tonnes (+74 per cent) compared to the same period in 2020.
Intense competition in the marketplace however means that while volumes are up, values did not increase at a corresponding rate.
The figures highlight the resilience of the Scottish salmon farming sector and reflect the extensive preparation and additional resources the sector allocated to best maintain the smooth and efficient supply process it previously enjoyed.
Tavish Scott, Chief Executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO) said that additional bureaucracy, paperwork, delays and confusion arising from Brexit have left salmon farmers incurring costs of at least £11 million but that he remains confident that 2021 will be a strong year for the sector.
Mr Scott said: “This is a great result for the Scottish salmon farmers and the Scottish economy. As the country and companies start to bounce back from the huge problems presented by Covid these figures show the worth of the salmon sector as an economic driver for Scotland, aiding the country’s renewal through job creation and tax revenues.
He added: “Salmon farmers remain vulnerable to the problems caused by Brexit. Export volumes to the EU may well be up for the first quarter of the year but increased delays in getting products to our EU markets have kept values low.
“The SSPO will continue to work with the UK and Scottish governments to find ways to streamline red tape and ensure our members can offer their customers the certainty of getting fresh, nutritious fish to EU markets on time.”