SCOTTISH salmon export sales jumped by 9% in the first half of 2023, with major growth in the Asian and American markets.

New figures show that salmon from Scotland, which is the UK’s largest food export, recorded a value of £306 million between January and June.

The largest increases by value were to the USA, China, Poland and Taiwan, while there was also huge percentage growth in the Netherlands, Singapore, Japanese and Spanish markets.

France remains by far the top international destination for Scottish salmon, and although sales to the country dipped 5% in the first half of the year, this was more than offset by wider global demand.

Within the EU, the new figures for countries like Poland and the Netherlands – now the fourth and sixth biggest global markets – reflect a growth in other EU hub and redistribution markets.

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Overall, non-EU exports rose significantly by 19% in the first half of 2023 to £132m, with EU export sales up by 3% to £173m.

Salmon Scotland analysis of HMRC figures, comparing values in the first half of 2023 with the first half of 2022, show exports to: lUSA up 10% to £77m lChina up 57% to £12m lPoland up 48% to £17m lTaiwan up 174% to £9m.

lNetherlands up 114% to £9m In the 2022 calendar year, fresh, whole Scottish salmon export sales of £578m were recorded, while the record figure was £617m in 2019, and the new figures indicate that Scottish salmon is heading for another very successful year.

Although the volume of fish transported overseas fell marginally, this reflected tight global supplies – and the increased international demand is pushing the prices of imported fish up.

Premium Label Rouge salmon – which carries the French quality mark for being the best in the world – currently accounts for around 12% of exports, and there is a vision to grow this to 15% by 2026, tapping into the markets in Germany, Spain and Italy where the quality mark is increasingly being recognised.

Separately, the UK domestic market for salmon is valued at around £1.2bn-a-year, and the sector’s gross value added is worth £766m for the Scottish and UK economy.

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Farm-raised salmon directly employs 2500 people in Scotland and a further 10,000 jobs are dependent on the sector.

Salmon Scotland chief executive Tavish Scott said: “The first half of the year has been another period of incredible success for Scottish salmon, reflecting the hard work and dedication of our farmers and the growing demand internationally for our nutritious fish.

"Grown sustainably in the waters off our west coast, with animal welfare a top priority for farmers and vets, the quality of Scottish salmon is recognised worldwide which is why it is the UK’s top food export.

“Scottish salmon also ensures that remote coastal communities can thrive.”