With total exports valued at over £600m, the USA alone is said to be worth £193m, with Scotland's top seafood export featuring on menus from New York to Los Angeles and Chicago to Miami.
Scott Landsburgh, the outgoing chief executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation (SSPO) the industry body for Scottish salmon farming, believes that the consistent quality of Scottish salmon allows for a great reputation making it desirable everywhere from the US to Japan.
He said: “International and domestic interest in what salmon farming is producing is growing exponentially. It is a huge accolade for fish farm workers in some of Scotland’s most remote areas to see that the work they put in to rearing high quality salmon is being recognised by international chefs and discerning consumers more and more.”
Both Scotland’s and the UK’s top food export, exports of Scottish salmon to France began more than 30 years ago and are still growing while new markets in Asia like China, Taiwan and Hong Kong are developing quickly.
Particularly prized for sushi and sashimi on the basis of its texture and quality, its international credentials are not new. Last year, the salmon industry celebrated 25 years since the French Government awarded it the prestigious Label Rouge.
This honour was particularly special as Scottish salmon was the first ever non-French food to receive the accolade for its superior quality and taste. Scottish salmon also holds European PGI (protected geographical indication), placing it alongside Scotch Whisky and Scotch Beef as a product of distinct, regional characteristics.
Such honours are important to retail and wholesale buyers, chefs and consumers in export markets. There is a recognition that these accolades come as a result of hard work, responsible production and a long-standing commitment to quality.
Chefs all over the world will tell you that well produced food simply tastes better.
Scott Landsburgh said: "As an industry we fully recognise that the product has to be right to earn the trust and support of buyers and chefs.
"They demand high quality fish, good welfare standards and traceability and we provide that. The combination of the industry’s Code of Good Practice farming standards and the pristine waters of Scotland makes an unbeatable combination.”
Landsburgh highlights that the robust standards of production have to stand up to scrutiny. All members of the SSPO are governed by the independently audited Code of Good Practice for Scottish Finfish Aquaculture. This sets out standards of operation for more than 500 compliance points throughout the farming process.
Salmon farming is also the largest producer of animal protein to have the RSPCA Assured accreditation.
“Scottish salmon was voted the 'best farmed salmon in the world' for the second time by a panel of international buyers. As I leave the industry I see more than just food production.”
“When I visit a farm I see people who genuinely love what they do and are fiercely proud of what they produce and where it comes from. I’m always impressed when I hear about how these workers are so involved in their local communities – as firefighters, community councillors, mountain rescue volunteers and so on.
"They are very special and if the industry’s success helps them to continue living, working and contributing to some very remote places then it is indeed a great success story.”