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Scottish salmon farmers brace for Covid-19 impact


March 13, 2020
By Mari-Len De Guzman


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(Credit: SSPO)

The Scottish salmon farming sector is taking some measures to alleviate the impact of the coronavirus outbreak to its businesses.

In a statement, the Scottish Salmon Producers Organization (SSPO) said flight restrictions and route cancellations have hampered the ability to supply Scottish salmon to major markets around the world. Salmon is the number one food export in the United Kingdom.

“As a result, we are working with the Scottish and UK governments and environmental regulators to keep fish in the water for longer, where this is appropriate, and looking at other measures to give our members more flexibility in dealing with these market disruptions,” said Hamish Macdonell, director of strategic engagement for SSPO.

“It has so far been relatively straightforward working through these measures as the preparatory work was done ahead of a possible ‘no deal’ Brexit last year, when similar market problems were anticipated.”

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Macdonell stressed that the UK market for salmon remains strong as customers have started to stock up on food in anticipation of further restrictions.

“Some of our member companies are looking actively at market substitution as a way of coping with the ongoing drop off in demand from other parts of the world,” Macdonell said.

The continued spread of Covid-19 has also resulted in the cancellation of major international seafood tradeshows, including the Seafood Expo North America in Boston, and the Seafood Expo Global in Brussels.

To date, Covid-19 has infected nearly 140,000 people and killed more than 5,000 across 132 countries. The World Health Organization this week officially declared the outbreak a global pandemic.