SCOTTISH salmon sales have reached a five year high as international demand continues to grow, according to recent data.

Salmon Scotland, an industry trade body, has said exports of the fish have increased by 36% in the first four months of the year.

Exports have increased by £5 million to £250m in comparison to the same time last year.

The data analysed by Salmon Scotland from HMRC also showed the industry exports grew by 11% last year from £581m, in 2022, to £645m in 2023, marking the highest sales value for the industry since 2019.

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The trade body also states that if the current growth in exports continues, 2024 could set a record for international sales.

Salmon farming is the UK’s largest food export and according to figures from the Scottish Government the industry was valued at more than £1.2 billion in 2022.

Tavish Scott, chief executive of Salmon Scotland, has said the growth in exports is vital for rural communities in the Highland and Islands and hopes the next UK Government will continue to invest into the industry.

He said: “The reputational and economic value of Scottish salmon is immense, as reflected in these latest export figures showing a significant increase in global demand for our healthy, nutritious fish.

“As exports continue to rise, enhanced legal protection under the UK Government's Protected Geographical Indication scheme will safeguard the Scottish salmon brand both domestically and internationally.

“Given the critical importance of revenue generation by our farmers, particularly during the cost-of-living crisis, whoever is handed the keys to Number 10 must streamline the export process for fresh Scottish salmon, ensuring quicker delivery to our customers.

“We eagerly anticipate working with the next UK Government to expand exports and boost national prosperity.

“Through salmon farming expansion, we are bolstering Scotland's economic growth, creating quality jobs in our Highland and island communities, and supplying low-carbon, protein-rich food to meet the needs of a growing global population.”