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Scottish Salmon Hits Chinese Markets

Salmonids Economics +2 more

SCOTLAND, UK - An agreement between the Scottish and Chinese governments will allow Scottish salmon exports into China for the first time.

Scotland's fish farming industry already supports 6,000 jobs in Scotland worth £500 million to the economy, with exports worth nearly £300 million.

Figures to October 2010 show that exports of Scottish farmed salmon have increased by almost 10 per cent when compared with the same period the previous year. Exports have risen from 55,231 tonnes (Jan-Oct 2009) to 60,599 tonnes (Jan-Oct 2010) as the demand for high quality Scottish farmed salmon continues to increase.

Chinese demand for salmon and salmon products is already large - more than 150 per cent of total Scottish output. Demand for Atlantic salmon is expanding fast, up by 42 per cent in 2009 to 8,000 tonnes. China is one of the world's largest seafood markets.

A range of Scottish fisheries products are now to be granted the certificate by AQSIQ, the Chinese ministerial administrative department in charge of import-export food safety, certification and accreditation and standardisation.

Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said: "This is a very welcome announcement from China that will boost sales of top quality and sought after Scottish seafood products. It provides a major boost for a crucial Scottish industry, strengthening efforts both to increase exports in a key market and to secure jobs across Scotland.

"It will further strengthen an already successful business sector which has positively weathered the economic downturn. Last year alone, 234 new jobs were created in the salmon industry and 29.5million pounds of capital was invested in 2009. The Scottish salmon industry is committed to nurturing a responsible, sustainable and environmentally aware future based on strong fishing heritage and traditions.

"Scotland is the world's third largest producer of Atlantic salmon and enjoys a reputation for quality fresh and added-value products such as smoked salmon. The Scottish salmon farming industry benefits from fish being farmed in clear, unpolluted waters and is fully regulated by Government agencies and partners.

"Salmon is of such importance to the Scottish economy, with a global retail sales value of over 1 billion pounds per annum, that it has a specific priority within the wider seafood sector."

Professor Phil Thomas, Chairman of industry representative body Scottish Salmon Producers' Organisation, said: "We welcome the signing of this important agreement between the Chinese and Scottish governments. Scottish farmed salmon is in high demand at home and overseas because it is a healthy, nutritious and sustainable protein. We have seen major investment in salmon farming in Scotland and this will help to ensure a bright future for a sector that is vital to the Scottish economy."

Jim Gallagher, of Scottish Sea Farms Ltd, added: "China is a major potential market with a significant number of discerning customers who I believe will appreciate the premium quality of our Scottish salmon. This new export opportunity is a welcome addition to the global markets in which we operate."

First Minister Alex Salmond said: "It's great news. It's something that was confirmed to me by Vice-Premier Li in our talks on Sunday and that is that the Chinese market is open for Scottish salmon. And as the vice-premier was pointing out as he enjoyed our marvellous product, he was pointing out that even if 1 per cent of the people of China decide to take the opportunity to eat Scottish salmon, then we'll have to double production in Scotland."