British fish farmers warn of Scandinavian threat despite booming sales

Fishing: Restaurant owner discusses 'roaring trade'

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Last year, sales of Scottish salmon soared to £614 million, which was an increase of 36 percent from the year before, according to latest HMRC figures. These soaring numbers cemented the industry as the UK’s biggest food export.

The French were the biggest buyers, with sales up to 64 percent to £304 million, meaning half of all exports headed across the Channel.

Americans snapped up a quarter of all sales with £152 million – a rise of 45 percent.

China came third spending £45 million on the fish, an increase of £31 million.

Tavish Scott, chief executive of Salmon Scotland, said the “incredibly encouraging figures demonstrate the global demand for our unrivalled farm-raised Scottish salmon and the resilience of our industry”.

However, he warned: “We must also be aware that our Scandinavian counterparts are growing faster and selling more salmon, so it is imperative that Government enables a regulatory framework that is both transparent and efficient to ensure that Scottish salmon retains its place as the key flag-bearer for quality exports from Scotland.”

The near-record figures for last year were only marginally below the £618 million in sales recorded in 2019.

According to Salmon Scotland, exports were shipped to 52 different markets last year, with growth across 10 of the top 20 markets.

Scottish Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said the figures “demonstrate the growing, global appetite for this nutritious and low-carbon food”.

She added: “Exports returning to levels close to pre-pandemic in spite of the disastrous impact of Brexit don’t happen on their own.

“This is testament to our resilient and hard-working aquaculture sector.”

Sales to the EU made up 61 percent of all trade, which was a rise of 29 percent.

While the rest of the world accounted for 39 percent, a rise of almost half.

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Two years after the UK left the bloc, industry experts have warned Britain’s fishing industry is being crippled by skyrocketing bills for sending products to the European Union.

Efforts to address the issue have so far yielded little success, fishermen have warned.

Allan Miller, who heads up the coastal fishing business AM Shellfish, told The Sunday Post: “Increased customs and health checks saw our transport costs soaring to more than £5,000 a week and we had to invest tens of thousands of pounds just to keep up with the changes.

“This is money we and many other businesses who had to do the same will never get back.

“We have only survived through ingenuity and hard work and if we hadn’t done that we would have been finished.

“The whole exporting process needs to be streamlined and costs brought down or many smaller seafood businesses will have to stop delivering to Europe altogether.”

Scottish Seafood Association CEO, Jimmy Buchan, desc the smallest businesses were the ones suffering the most.

He said: “Deliveries to Europe are now flowing well and more salmon has been exported than pre-Brexit and Covid levels.

“But, while larger firms have been able to absorb the extra costs, many smaller businesses are struggling to cope.”

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