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Food Shortage Opens Window for Scottish Salmon

UK - Virtually overnight Scotland's aquaculture industry has found success. It is now widely regarded as an expert in the production of fast, cheap, accessible protein, just as the world wakes up to the fact that it faces a critical food shortage.

"We've got what everyone else needs," starts a TimesOnline news article. According to the report, it's only days since the United Nations pronounced that there must be more salmon farms developed throughout the world to meet the needs for global fish protein in the future - not to mention the fact that at present, without farmed fish, the demand could never be met.

And it's not just about feeding the world; it's about doing it well. Oily fish, Omega 3: salmon is the marketing department's dream product in a cholesterol-ridden Western society.

For Scottish salmon farming, an industry traditionally targeted by the powerful lobbies of anglers and environmentalists, it is a golden opportunity to come out of its self-imposed purdah. Scott Landsburgh, new chief executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation, is well aware of the need to blow the industry's trumpet.

“It's important we are as proactive as we can be,” he told the TimesOnline. “We need to put over what we have achieved. The industry has taken enormous strides forward in recent years, there has been significant investment and we are highly efficient. We are the world's third largest producer of farmed salmon after Norway and Chile.”

Figures for 2008 show that salmon plays a major role in Scotland's balance of payments. One in three Scottish salmon is exported - about 38 per cent of the total production.

The overseas demand for fish is maintaining its five-year average high, with Scotland's top export markets being France, USA, Ireland, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg. Globally, fish consumption has increased by over 40 per cent over the past 30 years but during that period the supply of wild-caught fish has been almost static and in some places declining because of over-fishing. Into that gap, aquaculture has stepped.

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