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Scottish Salmon Shines at the Royal Highland Show

Updated: Jun 28

by Marc Faber


The annual Royal Highland Show has wrapped up, and Scottish salmon continues to impress and solidify its presence at one of Scotland’s premier events focused on farming, food, and rural life.

The Royal Highland Show is Scotland’s largest farmed animal event, attracting over 200,000 visitors, 800 trade exhibitors, and more than 4,000 live animals competing in 2,000 livestock competitions each year. Organized by the Royal Highland & Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS), it is regarded as one of Europe's best agribusiness shows. The event showcases the best of Scottish agriculture, countryside, food, and farming to its members and the public. Historically, the show highlighted Scotland’s agriculturally farmed cattle, horses, and sheep, traveling between Scottish cities before finding its permanent home in Ingliston in 1960.

With the powerhouse that the Scottish salmon industry has become, it was only a matter of time before salmon made their mark on the show in recent years. Though primarily represented in its edible form, salmon was prominently featured through food trucks, supermarket chains, and producer stands. One notable exhibitor was Bakkafrost Scotland, which showcased their Native Hebridean Salmon. I had the pleasure of tasting their excellent smoked salmon and engaging with their communications coordinator, Zoe Cuthbertson, discussing her growing involvement with YAS.

The Food for Thought Theatre was a particular highlight for salmon enthusiasts. On Friday, the Scottish Culinary Chefs, Craig Palmer and Craig Coupar, did a wonderful job demonstrating simple yet elegant recipes using Bakkafrost's Native Hebridean smoked salmon, which everyone found delicious. Over the rest of the weekend, Catriona Frankitti was brilliant at educating people on the health benefits of salmon and conducting cookery demonstrations using the Native Hebridean smoked salmon, leading to engaging and interesting food discussions.

Sustainable farming and biodiversity improvement in food production are increasingly in the public eye. TV shows like Clarkson’s Farm have significantly impacted the public’s perception of farming and rural life. The Royal Highland Show provides a platform for discussing current challenges and successes in Scottish farming. It hosts a range of Scotland’s leading livestock research universities and institutes, as well as representatives from the veterinary pharmaceutical industry, to engage with farmers and the public on current research strategies in veterinary health.

As a scientist at the Moredun Research Institute, I participated in our annual marquee and represented YAS. We exhibited our research highlights and public outreach approaches in Scottish livestock. I had the opportunity to engage with Tavish Scott, the chief executive of Salmon Scotland, thanking him for his and Salmon Scotland’s great support for YAS and the success of our offishal launch. I demonstrated our educational outreach efforts using VR headsets and discussed how the industry and research can further support each other in developing cutting-edge scientific approaches to address the current challenges in Scotland’s salmon aquaculture.

Salmon has firmly established its presence at the Royal Highland Show, and one can dream that one day we will see them join the animal competitions and winners’ parade for Scotland’s amazing livestock.

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