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Scottish Salmon Exports On The Rise

SCOTLAND, UK - Scottish farmed salmon continues to show record export growth, according to the latest figures released as the Environment Minister attends the key event in the international trade calendar.

Environment Minister Stewart Stevenson will be joined at Aqua Nor in Norway by representatives of Scottish Development International (SDI), the Scottish Government, Highlands & Islands Enterprise (HIE) and Scottish Salmon Producers' Organisation (SSPO).

Exports of fresh Scottish salmon have continued to rise and are up 37 per cent, comparing the start of 2011 (January to May) with the same period last year. The Scottish delegation at Aqua Nor aims to encourage investment in Scotland's industry and support sustainable growth.

During his three-day visit, Mr Stevenson will meet with senior executives from some of the major salmon farming companies, as well as Lisbeth Berg-Hansen, Norwegian Fisheries Minister, and Pablo Galilea, Chilean Vice Minister for Fisheries. Norway, Chile and Scotland are the world's top three producers of farmed salmon.

Mr Stevenson said: "Scottish salmon is a high quality, delicious product that is becoming increasingly popular around the world - as illustrated by the latest booming export figures. Last year salmon accounted for 36 per cent of the value of Scottish food exports, while the industry also provides much needed employment opportunities in our fragile rural communities."

"It's important that we continue to promote this key product and encourage further investment in the industry, as well as working with others internationally on ways to continue improving the environmental sustainability of aquaculture. These are areas I will be discussing with my Norwegian and Chilean counterparts, while also sharing successes Scotland has had in the development of our industry."

SDI chief executive Anne MacColl said: "The quality of Scottish salmon is globally renowned and earlier this year it was voted the best farmed salmon in the world in an independent poll of international seafood buyers. The fact that farmed salmon is now Scotland's largest food export underlines the contribution it makes to our economy, so we are looking to support this industry in any way we can."

"We are working with our industry and government colleagues to increase investment for the benefit of our economy, and are looking forward to a series of successful meetings in Trondheim."

Scott Landsburgh, Chief Executive of SSPO, said: "We welcome this joined-up approach to attracting further investment as the sector is enjoying an upward trend, confidence is high and demand continues to increase."

"The salmon farming sector has made around 150 million in capital investment during the last five years - the vast majority of this has been in the Highlands and Islands. Salmon farming is capital intensive and this initiative will help to inform future investment strategies in remote, rural economies in Scotland."

Iain Sutherland, senior manager for aquaculture at HIE, said: "Scottish salmon, exported from some of our most remote and rural locations in the Highlands and Islands, is celebrated across the world. As our largest food export its success can be attributed to the quality, taste and the hard work and experience of the generations of men and women in the businesses."

"From Shetland in the north to Bute in the west, HIE is working with ambitious businesses every day to support growth in the international arena."

While meeting the Norwegian Fisheries Minister, Mr Stevenson expressed his condolences to the Norwegian people, for the atrocities committed in Norway last month. Mr Stevenson is the first Scottish Minister to visit Norway since this took place.

Mr Stevenson will hold one-to-one meetings with salmon companies operating in Scotland, as well as touring the Aqua Nor exhibition to meet Scotland-based exhibitors. Aqua Nor, held in Trondheim, is an important international event for the aquaculture industry, showcasing the latest products, services, and research and development projects.

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