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ACCORDING to recent figures released by Scottish Development international (SDI), Scottish salmon exports experienced a 36 per cent increase to the United States in 2011. As the largest ever year-on-year rise, it further secures the US as Scotland’s top export market.

As the total US salmon imports also increased 2.6 per cent in 2011, the new figures reveal Scotland has the largest share of Atlantic salmon imports outside of North and South America. With one quarter of Scotland’s salmon production – equivalent to 43,703 tonnes – sent to the US in 2011, Scottish farmed salmon is the country’s largest food export. The total value of all Scottish salmon exports (fresh, frozen and smoked) to the US last year was £211 million and the total US salmon market is valued at £1.08 billion ($1.71 billion).

The new export figures are released as SDI is leading a delegation of Scottish seafood companies to attend the International Boston Seafood Show, which ends today. There, firms will meet with influential seafood buyers from the retail and catering sectors to strengthen relationships and build on current success. Those exhibiting on the Scotland pavilion include Orkney Islands Seafood, The Scottish Salmon Company and Grieg Seafood Hjatland who yesterday won the retail category of the Seafood Excellence Awards at the Show for their Limoncello Gravadlax product.

With 86 per cent of seafood consumption in the US coming from imports and an ever-increasing 50 per cent of the world’s seafood coming from fish and shellfish farming across the globe, Scottish salmon is playing a significant role in current seafood consumption. Voted the “Best Farmed Salmon in the World” by international seafood buyers in 2011 – based on superior taste, quality and appearance, Scotland is the world’s third largest producer of farmed salmon, with a retail market valued at over $1.5 billion.

Anne MacColl, chief executive, SDI, said: “These new figures strongly reinforce the importance of the North American market for the Scottish seafood industry. This is hugely encouraging and it's vital that we continue to build on our success by increasing trade relationships with influential salmon and seafood buyers across the world. “This year Scottish Development International is supporting a delegation of 14 Scottish companies at the International Boston Seafood Show where they will have the opportunity to network with key industry players and introduce their businesses to a new overseas customer base.

“SDI is committed to supporting food and drink companies to increase their exporting activities. By working collaboratively with our key partners including Scottish Salmon Producers' Organisation and Seafood Scotland, we believe we can further boost international food and drink exports and in doing so, deliver long-term sustainable growth for Scotland's economy.”

Scott Landsburgh, chief executive, Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation, said: “Continuing to develop our international offering is vitally important for our sector. Recent news that the US is the number one market for Scottish salmon demonstrates the increasingly successful collaboration between Scottish producers and US buyers. The US market remains a huge opportunity for Scotland.”

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