Exports of farmed salmon from Scotland rose 17% by value last year, but there was another big reduction in the volume of fish sold overseas. There was also a big recovery in exports into the European Union, up by more than a third on 2015.
But there was a warning about the impact on jobs if import tariffs are introduced. Fish industry leaders are in Brussels for the world’s biggest fish industry exhibition. The exhibition is viewed as an important one for promoting Scotland’s biggest food export, which was, in 2014, the biggest UK food export.
Much higher prices, due to a shortfall in supply, meant a sharp increase in profits for producers during the last year.
The new export figures are from HM Revenue and Customs. They show that the tonnage of exported salmon fell by more than a quarter, from 100,000 tonnes in 2014 to 83,400 tonnes in 2015. And last year, it fell by 10%, to 74,600 tonnes.
The export value fell from £494m in 2014, to £386m but then rose to £451m in 2016. The decline in volume is largely due to a fall in the supply of fish, and a reduced average size,
much of which is explained by sea lice – what the industry calls “biological challenges”.