Significant coronavirus downturn shows that the value of Scottish salmon exports dropped by 34 per cent.
In a press release, the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation writes that new figures published by HMRC show that both volume and values of Scottish salmon exports in Q1 fell by 40 per cent and 34 per cent respectively, compared to the same period in 2019.
The trade organisation wrote that it was calling on the UK and Scottish Governments to support market access following the significant downturn in exports.
In total, 13,600 tonnes of Scottish salmon were exported, worth GBP 100 million. This represents a decline in volume of 8,900 tonnes and a reduction in value of over GBP 51 million in the period compared with 2019.
The export decline was felt sharply in March as coronavirus took hold in several major markets. The value of exports totalled GBP 24.1 million, a decline from GBP 31.7 million in February and 57 per cent lower than March 2019.
“The closure of the vitally important food service (restaurants & cafes and food to go) sector in many export markets, significantly reduced passenger flights to key markets like the USA and consequent spikes in freight charges and an emerging trend to buy local in many European countries have all been factors in the export decline,” it wrote.
The SSPO wrote that it is that Q2 export figures will be lower than pre-Covid expectations.
SSPO CEO Julie Hesketh-Laird said that the industry needed more support from the governement:“As our export markets gradually open we look to the UK and Scottish Governments to help find ways to ensure supply lines to customers are kept open and are competitive so the UK’s biggest food export can be enjoyed in our key markets.
“The much-needed support being considered for the aviation sector must focus on freight as well as passengers. High quality Scottish salmon is available and we want to see significantly more flights leaving the UK with salmon in their hold. We operate in a highly competitive, global market and want to hold fast to our market share, which brings economic benefits to local and national economies.
“In the longer term we need easy access to markets through a swift and fair conclusion to free-trade negotiations with our biggest and most important trading partners in the EU and USA. Support from Governments to make this happen is critically important now, more than ever,” she added.