Salmon farming industry booming as value of produce soars to £540m

PRODUCTION of Scottish farmed salmon grew by nearly 7 per cent last year to the highest level in six years.

New figures show that 154,164 tonnes of salmon – worth £539.6 million – were produced in 2010 – a 30 per cent rise in value on 2009.

According to the Scottish Fish Farm Production Survey 2010, the total number of staff employed in salmon production was 1,064 – up 101 compared with 2009, although down from the 1,397 employed in 2000.

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Stewart Stevenson, the environment minister, said: “Scotland is a global player in farmed salmon – the largest in the EU and third in the world alongside Norway and Chile.

“I’m pleased that the industry has been able to achieve steady growth in farmed salmon production once again this year, demonstrating that demand for quality Scottish farmed salmon remains very high.

“Today’s impressive figures show that salmon farming continues to dominate fish production in Scotland, which is unsurprising given that new international markets are opening up, with more people than ever before choosing to include healthy, Omega-3 rich salmon in their diet.” He said the jobs are important to the economy, particularly in rural communities in the Highlands and Western and Northern Isles.

The report shows rainbow trout production dropped by 1,627 tonnes to 5,139 tonnes and employment fell by nine people to 129.

The production of other species, such as cod, halibut and brown trout, fell by 196 tonnes to 194 tonnes and employment decreased from 23 to 19.

During 2010 there were ten reported fish farm escapes. Three involved rainbow trout and involved 19,976 fish, two were at Atlantic salmon freshwater sites involving 10,885 fish and five at salmon seawater sites involving 7,102 fish.