Brexit news: UK fish farmers warn of ‘Scandinavian threat’ despite surging sales | Politics | News
Last year, sales of Scottish salmon soared to £614million, a 36 per cent increase on the previous year, according to the latest figures from HMRC. These growing figures have cemented the industry as the UK’s biggest food export.
The French were the biggest buyers, with sales up 64% to £304million, meaning half of all exports crossed the Channel.
Americans picked up a quarter of all sales with £152m, a 45% increase.
China came third in spending £45m on fish, an increase of £31m.
Tavish Scott, Managing Director of Salmon Scotland, said “the incredibly encouraging figures demonstrate the global demand for our unparalleled farmed Scottish salmon and the resilience of our industry”.
However, he warned: “We also need to be aware that our Scandinavian counterparts are growing faster and selling more salmon, so it is imperative that the government enables a regulatory framework that is both transparent and effective to ensure that Scottish salmon retains its place as the key standard bearer for quality Scottish exports.
Last year’s near-record figures were only slightly lower than the £618million in sales recorded in 2019.
According to Salmon Scotland, exports went to 52 different markets last year, with growth in 10 of the top 20 markets.
Scottish Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said the figures “demonstrate the growing global appetite for this nutritious, low-carbon food”.
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Two years after the UK left the bloc, industry experts have warned that Britain’s fishing industry is crippled by skyrocketing bills for shipping product to the European Union.
Efforts to fix the problem have so far yielded little success, fishermen have warned.
Allan Miller, who runs inshore fishing company AM Shellfish, told the Sunday Post: ‘Increased customs and health checks have pushed our transport costs up to over £5,000 a week and we’ve had to invest tens of thousands of pounds just to keep up. with the changes.
“It’s money that we and many other companies that have had to do the same will never get back.
“We only survived through ingenuity and hard work and if we hadn’t done that we would have been finished.
“The whole export process needs to be streamlined and costs reduced, otherwise many smaller seafood companies will have to stop shipping to Europe altogether.”
Scottish Seafood Association CEO Jimmy Buchan describes that the smallest businesses suffer the most.
He said: “Deliveries to Europe are now going well and more salmon has been exported than pre-Brexit and Covid levels.
“But, while larger companies have been able to absorb the additional costs, many smaller companies are struggling to cope.”