Scotland's salmon farming industry is set to capitalise on global supply shortages by increasing export sales.
The US is emerging as a potentially lucrative market for Scottish salmon as Chile's industry, which traditionally sends large quantities to North America, has been hit by the salmon anaemia virus. The Chilean salmon farming industry had more or less "collapsed in a heap", said Scottish environment minister Roseanna Cunningham.

Industry sources estimate a 100,000 tonne shortfall in supply of Chilean Atlantic salmon to the US, to which Scotland already exports 16,000 tonnes.

Scotland is currently the third-largest salmon producer in the world after Chile and Norway, according to the Scottish Salmon Producers' Organisation. Although Norway would be well placed to send additional supplies, it would be unable to meet the full demand on its own, said Francis Murray, a fellow at Sterling University.

Scottish Development International intends to send a delegation to the US later this year to develop export plans for Scottish salmon. "There are opportunities to support the

Scot­tish aquaculture industry to do more in the US, particularly at the high-end of the market," said SDI manager, food and drink, Ewen Cameron.

"With rising global demand, Scotland has a great opportunity on the broader aquaculture side to raise its game to a level never seen before," added Michael Stark, MD of Grieg Seafood Hjaltland UK.

The Scottish seafood industry received a further boost last week when fisheries secretary Richard Lochhead launched a new initiative aimed at getting Scots to eat more fish.

With new figures showing falling consumption and Scots eating much less fish than consumers in other countries, the new campaign will look to change habits.

The initiative will include working with retailers and fishmongers to raise consumer awareness, a competition to find the best young seafood chef, and a new website.