UK records highest ever exports of salmon to EU

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UK salmon farmers sold more fresh fish to the EU in the first half of 2021 than ever before according to latest export figures.

Official statistics released by the UK Government on Thursday showed that 33,638 tonnes of whole, fresh salmon were exported to the EU in the first half of 2021 – the highest figure on record.

Demand has continued to rise since the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO), the trade body that represents Scotland’s salmon farmers, announced in May that a record-breaking amount was exported to the EU in the first quarter and the sector is now confident that salmon export volumes have returned to pre-pandemic levels.

Comparison with 2019 (pre-pandemic)

Exports of Scottish SalmonJan-Jun 2021 Volume (tonnes) Change vs. 2019 Value (£GBP) Change vs. 2019
Total 50,635t +7% £303.0m -5%
EU 33,638t +36% £183.4m +18%
Rest of World 16,997t -25% £119.6m -27%

 

Increased costs
However, the SSPO said that while the amount of salmon being sold was encouraging, value had dipped alarmingly since the start of the year.

Poor market conditions mean that while total export volumes are up by 63 per cent compared with last year, value did not increase at a corresponding rate, only increasing by 42 per cent. Additionally, salmon farmers continue to face increased costs since the UK left the EU.

Ongoing Brexit fallout?
Tavish Scott, Chief Executive of the SSPO, said: “We are delighted to see such strong demand for our salmon internationally, which demonstrates the importance of our sector as an economic driver of Scotland’s rural economy. The jobs and communities we have been able to support during such a difficult year is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the employees throughout the entire sector. Scottish salmon is truly an economic success story that we can all be proud of.

He added: “Despite much reason for celebration, we cannot deny that we are disappointed that the value of our award-winning salmon remains suppressed due to intense marketplace competition and fallout from Brexit’s impact on our supply chains.”