Scottish salmon exports hit a record high in 2019 with a value of £618 million, according to new figures published today (11th February).

Official statistics released by the UK Government HMRC show the highest ever value of Scottish salmon exports. With a value of £618 million, sales of salmon overseas increased by 22 per cent in 2019 over the year before. The tonnage exported also increased by 26 per cent to over 94,000 tonnes.

France, USA, and China were the top three markets of a total of 54 countries which imported Scottish salmon.  For the third year running, France emerged as the largest market for Scottish salmon with sales worth £221 million, followed by USA (£179 million), and China (£59 million).

The EU accounted for 56 per cent of the volume of global Scottish salmon exports and 52 per cent of the value.

Outside the EU, the USA remained Scottish salmon’s largest market. Worth £179 million in 2019, USA’s growth in value and volume of 28 per cent year on year resulted in exports of 25,000 tonnes.

In total, 17 of the top 20 export markets showed positive growth in 2019.

While there was a decline in exports to China of 11% in volume, this was offset by growth elsewhere in Asia to the likes of Taiwan and Japan resulting in almost £97 million worth of Scottish salmon exported to the region.

SSPO CEO Julie Hesketh-Laird and Fergus Ewing MSP at Glasgow Fish Market

Julie Hesketh-Laird, Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO) chief executive, said:

“These figures demonstrate just what an extraordinary success Scottish salmon is.

“Such record-breaking performance is hugely encouraging and reflects the excellent reputation which Scottish salmon has in international markets. Scottish salmon’s good environmental story with its small carbon footprint and low water use plus global recognition of its taste, quality and provenance is clearly understood in almost every corner of the globe.

 “Salmon’s continued export success sustains more than 2,300 jobs in Scotland, mostly in sparsely populated rural areas.

“This success has led to substantial sums being re-invested into local communities, providing much-needed employment and economic support.”

Ms Hesketh-Laird added:

“These latest export successes represent a trail-blazer for other Scottish food overseas and provide a further reminder of the importance of salmon, both to the Scottish economy and to the food and drink sector.”

Fergus Ewing, Scotland’s Rural Economy Secretary, welcomed the export figures. He said: “These record-breaking figures demonstrate that demand for Scottish salmon is soaring and highlights the world-class reputation our producers enjoy.

“The need to explore and take advantage of international markets could not be clearer given the current uncertainty around our future trading relationship with Europe. This is an important time for the Scottish farmed salmon sector which contributes significantly to the rural economy, supporting families and livelihoods in some of our most fragile communities.

“I’m confident that the Scottish Government and industry will continue to work together to unlock further sustainable growth of this vital sector.”

Exports of Scottish salmon - Top 20 markets - 2019
Value Volume
2019 chg pct 2019 chg pct
France £221.3m +£56.1m +34% 35,672t +11,685t +49%
United States £178.5m +£39.4m +28% 24,669t +5,370t +28%
China £59.1m -£9.3m -14% 8,648t -1,074t -11%
Irish Republic £25.0m -£5.8m -19% 4,814t -578t -11%
Taiwan £23.3m +£1.4m +7% 3,316t +95t +3%
Germany £22.8m +£7.4m +48% 2,691t +557t +26%
Belgium £13.9m +£5.6m +68% 1,252t +536t +75%
Poland £10.3m +£2.7m +35% 1,720t +174t +11%
Denmark £9.7m +£1.5m +19% 2,336t +248t +12%
Japan £9.2m +£3.6m +66% 1,111t +351t +46%
Italy £5.9m +£2.0m +51% 834t +229t +38%
Lebanon £5.7m +£0.8m +17% 867t +157t +22%
Netherlands £5.1m -£0.3m -6% 933t +178t +24%
UAE £5.1m +£2.2m +74% 685t +249t +57%
Canada £4.8m +£0.8m +21% 611t +65t +12%
Spain £4.3m +£2.2m +105% 689t +391t +131%
Switzerland £3.6m +£0.4m +14% 554t +73t +15%
South Korea £2.3m +£0.9m +67% 299t +91t +44%
Estonia £1.8m +£0.2m +10% 1,568t +321t +26%
Hong Kong £1.6m +£0.1m +9% 155t -11t -7%
Others £5.4m 864t
Source: HMRC; UKTradeInfo; Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation

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