SCOTTISH salmon was the UK’s biggest food export in 2022 – but levels remain below their pre-Brexit highs, UK Government figures show.

Data from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) shows that Scottish salmon exports were worth some £578 million in 2022. However, this is around £40m less than the record £617m which was exported in 2019 before Brexit.

France led the global demand for the Scots product, the figures show, with the EU as a whole accounting for 64% of salmon exports by value, and 72% by volume.

North America accounted for 24% of Scottish salmon exports by value but just 19% by volume.

In total, some 72,325 tonnes of Scottish salmon was exported to 54 countries around the globe.

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The UK domestic market for Scottish salmon is valued at around £1.2 billion a year.

Scottish Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said it was “fantastic to see strong sales of Scottish salmon in 2022”.

She went on: “Scottish salmon is a world-renowned brand and its success is testament to the quality of Scottish salmon as a product. That 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.

“Food and drink is one of our priority export sectors and the continued growth in global markets means more jobs and investment across Scotland.

“We will continue to engage with and listen to the Scottish salmon industry to understand how we can improve export opportunities and remove barriers to trade.”

Tavish Scott, chief executive of Salmon Scotland, said: “Scottish salmon is an extraordinary global success story that we can all be immensely proud of, supporting thousands of jobs and contributing hundreds of millions of pounds to the UK economy.

“With such pressure on public services during the cost-of-living crisis, the revenue generated by our farmers has never been more important.

“Scottish salmon, grown sustainably in the cold waters off our west coast, is recognised as the best in the world – which is why it is in such high international demand.

“Through responsible growth of the blue economy we can help feed the world, rearing one of the most nutritious foods that we can eat.

“Thank you to everyone involved from egg to plate for delivering such a successful year for Scottish salmon.”