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Salmon Farms Inject 500 million into Economy

by 5m Editor
21 May 2009, at 1:00am

SCOTLAND, UK - Scotlands salmon farmers injected 500 million into the economy in 2008, according to a new survey of producers.

The Highlands and Islands continue to be the main beneficiary, with over £5.5 million paid in direct employee wages and expenditure on suppliers and services in local businesses every week.

Conducted by Scottish Salmon Producers' Organisation (SSPO) in April 2009, some 95 per cent of salmon farmers completed the survey.

The findings include:

  • Expenditure on suppliers and services has increased from £253m in 2006 to £304m in 2008 – 47% (£143m) was spent within businesses in the Highlands and Islands; a further 26% (£80m) was spent on businesses located elsewhere in Scotland; 22 per cent (£66m) in the rest of the UK, and; 5% (£14m) overseas;

  • Primary salmon production led to local gross wages payments of £36m in 2008. When applying the Scottish Government’s economic multiplier (for every pound paid to employees a further £4.58 is generated locally), the local wages payments translate to an injection of £165m into the local, rural economy – 89% was spent in the Highlands and Islands, and;
  • SSPO members employed a total of 1,579 people in 2008 – which is higher than official estimates for the whole of the aquaculture sector.

Scott Landsburgh, Chief Executive of SSPO, said: “The findings highlight the far-reaching and vital benefits of salmon farming. Our industry continues to play a major role in the economic sustainability of the Highlands and Islands.”

David Primrose, Director of independent market research company George Street Research, who analysed the industry-wide figures, said: “It is encouraging that the response to the member survey was so high. What is also striking is the increase in investment and expenditure at a time when many other sectors have seen cutbacks. The industry is characterised by the amount of income retained locally, so these results are especially encouraging for rural Scotland."

The release of the figures coincides with a debate in the Scottish Parliament (Thursday 21 May) to discuss the importance of aquaculture to the economy. Encouraging MSPs to support the sector, Landsburgh said: “The prospects for future development of our sector are encouraging. However, the development of policy that supports both further capital investment and expenditure in the supply chain is crucial. The further development of the initial proposals in the Marine Bill will be key to the future of one of the major sectors of the Highlands and Islands economy.”

5m Editor

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