Scottish salmon production supports thousands of jobs
The economic value of salmon farming in Scotland leapt to an all-time high in 2011 as confidence in the industry continues to grow, a new report informs.


The survey, Scottish Salmon Farming – Industry Research Report, underscores the creation of 272 new jobs last year, a 23 per cent boost in the total gross pay and a record GBP 47.6 million (EUR 57.7 million) capital investment, as well as a 22 per cent jump in the expenditure on suppliers and services up to GBP 435 million (EUR 526.9 million).


According to Scott Landsburgh, Chief Executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation (SSPO), which represents 98 per cent of salmon production, the new report shows that salmon farming is still helping the economy grow, supporting more than 2,124 direct jobs — a 13 per cent rise on 2010 – and many more thousands of jobs supported in the supply chain.


“At a time of slow growth in the global economy, the Scottish salmon sector continues to be a source of major capital investment and new opportunities. With continual national commitment and a balanced approach in the Aquaculture and Fisheries Bill proposed for later this year, the industry can continue to create more opportunities for employment across the country,” he said.


Professor Phil Thomas, Chairman of SSPO, noted that by international standards, Scotland’s farms are small and its commitment to high standards of husbandry and management incurs added costs. 


“The creation of 506 jobs over the last three years and GBP 1.4 billion (EUR 1.7 billion) expenditure on suppliers and services during the last four years stand out as major economic contributions made by the industry,” added Thomas. 


Leigh Grant, CEO of Freedom Food, highlighted the high standards of husbandry and the increasing percentage of Scottish salmon production approved by Freedom Food, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’s (RSPCA) farm animal welfare and food labelling scheme.


«We are very much encouraged that since the RSPCA launched the welfare standards for farmed Atlantic salmon just over nine years ago, between 60 per cent and 70 per cent of Scottish salmon in seawater are now Freedom Food approved,» Grant commented.


The survey’s key findings are:
• 86 per cent of SSPO member companies plan to increase staff over the next five years (up from 78 per cent when compared with the previous survey in December 2010).
• 86 per cent of SSPO member companies expressed a desire to grow sustainably over the next five years (an increase from 70 per cent compared with the same period).
“This is great news for the Highlands and Islands and the wider Scottish economy and we must work with government to maintain the high levels of confidence in our industry,” added Landsburgh.