GBP 60 million market down 80 per cent.
The industry trade body the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation has told SalmonBusiness that the recent Beijing capital outbreak is a “worrying development” but “there is no credible evidence linking it to any imported food products”.
The fish, which was increasingly popular in Asia pre-COVID-19, has been shoved into the limelight as un unlikely puzzle piece surrounding a recent cluster of coronavirus in the Chinese capital.
Hamish Macdonell, Director of Strategic Engagement, Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation, said that this year because of the pandemic, 2020 volumes exported to China – the third largest export market – have been reduced by 80 per cent.
In a statement, he explained that “while the outbreak of coronavirus in a busy wholesale market in China is a worrying development, there is no credible evidence linking it to any imported food products.
“As proven by several scientific studies, including one by University College London in the past few weeks and the Asian Fisheries Society, salmon can neither be infected with, nor spread, coronavirus.
“The emerging evidence, supported by Chinese experts in virology and infectious disease, points to cross-contamination from a local infected source,” he said.
When pressed on the impact to Scottish exports, Macdonell elaborated that: “Exports of Scottish salmon to China had not got back to their pre-Covid levels before this fresh outbreak occurred so there was only a limited amount of our fish on its way to China at the time
“As a result, most of our members have not been affected. Those that have been affected are adapting to this new slowdown in the Chinese market by diverting product elsewhere or holding it at international hubs while new buyers are found,” he concluded.