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Crisis in Scottish wild salmon likely to increase pricing

The Scottish Wild Salmon industry has recorded the lowest level of wild salmon catches since records began. Government figures showed that only 37,000 fish were caught in 2018, the lowest catch volume on record. This is almost a third lower than the previous five-year average and the fisheries management in Scotland had described it as a crisis and that the conservation of this business that adds around £1 billion to the Scottish economy annually, supporting over 10,000 jobs, should be a national priority.

The salmon population has been falling, but there is uncertainty about what is behind this trend. Factors such as climate change leading to hotter seas and changing food supplies or dams blocking migration paths have been blamed for some of the problem. Commercial salmon fishing can also be credited with causing a surge in sea lice populations that can prove fatal to young salmon, further damaging numbers. The Scottish government are yet to publish official wild salmon population data, but this should provide more insight into how severe the problem is at present.

We have also seen a recent price rise over the last month in the cost of Salmon, and a significant increase in price over the last half of 2018. If this trend on salmon continues, then expect to see further increases in the price of salmon, although only time will tell the long-term impact of this crisis. There have, however, been political movements towards solving this problem, with a £500,000 research fund into causes of the decline in numbers and a £5 million fund to alter or remove weirs and dams. This increased investment could lead to wild salmon stocks increasing, but this will more than likely be a more long-term investment, so we expect prices to continue to rise for the short term until these measures can take impact.

This article was written by Prestige Purchasing, a Foodservice and Hospitality procurement consultancy. We run bespoke, client-funded supply chain reviews and procurement projects for leading out-of-home eating businesses. No aggregation or supplier income. No share of savings. Food purchasing without the funny business.

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