EXPORTS of Scottish salmon to the US are set to hit £200 million for the first time this year, according to an industry body.
Sales of farmed salmon rose by almost 30% to £198.5 million last year, the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation (SSPO) said, and it expects the rise to continue.
It is the fourth successive year that the US has been the leading destination for Scottish salmon.
Industry experts said it was a “star performance” which would guarantee jobs for generations to come.
Salmon farming in Scotland directly employs 2,200 people and thousands more in the supply chain
SSPO chief executive Scott Landsburgh said: “These impressive figures are the result of the fantastic reputation our salmon enjoys in the US. Quality and Scottish provenance are key to the American market.
“Major retail chains and high-end restaurants are delighted with the salmon we supply from Scotland.
“The industry has been supported by Scottish Development International (SDI) to open more market opportunities for Scottish salmon, making the US our largest export market.”
The figures were released ahead of the Boston Seafood Expo USA which runs from March 16 to 18 and is attended by exhibitors and buyers.
Food and Drink Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “Scottish salmon is world-class - it’s top quality, full of flavour and farmed to high standards - and these figures show that it’s a well sought-after product across the world. They also reaffirm Scotland’s stature in the global food and drink industry.
“I’m extremely confident that we will continue to see sales of salmon, as well as our wide range of premium, high-quality products, grow under our new export plan.
“There’s a global appetite for Scottish products and we are doing all we can to cater for demand.”
The SSPO said that salmon farmers invested more than £267 million in capital projects between 2006 and 2012, the vast majority in remote, rural communities in the Highlands and Islands.
James Withers, chief executive officer of Scotland Food and Drink, said: “I am delighted to see that for another year our star performance in food exports is enjoying further success in the US.
“This will guarantee jobs for the remote rural communities of the Highlands and Islands for generations to come.
“We have set ambitious growth targets for 2017, aiming to break the £7 billion mark in food and drink exports by that date.
“If achieved, we’ll have almost doubled our exports in a decade and all the signs are that Scottish salmon will play a driving role.”