‘Label Rouge’ sales leap 7% thanks to French taste for Scotland’s fish

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Exports of Scotland’s “Label Rouge” accredited farmed salmon rose by 7 per cent last year after French gourmets continued to favour the premium cold-water fish.

Scottish salmon became the first overseas produce to receive the French government’s quality mark designation in 1992.

The latest figures from the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation (SSPO) show that 7,346 tonnes of the salmon was sold in 2012.

The group says the salmon farming industry directly employs more than 2,100 people north of the Border. It created 500 jobs between 2008 and 2011, the last year for which the SSPO has employment figures.

SSPO chief executive Scott Landsburgh said: “In a time of economic difficulties, one of the best tools Scotland has to distinguish itself, grow its economy and create jobs is to produce premium products such as Scottish farmed salmon.”

He said the increase was achieved despite increased competition from other salmon farming countries.

The increase in exports is welcome news in advance of the three-day European Seafood Exposition starting in Brussels on Tuesday, when the SSPO will exhibit as part of the Scottish pavilion to promote the country’s seafood.

Landsburgh said: “It is important we work together to maintain Scotland’s reputation for quality in order to grow this vital sector and protect this iconic food.”

For more than ten years, Scottish salmon was the only non-French food to meet the quality scheme’s rigorous standards.