Fresh Scottish salmon exports saw a record 36% increase to the United States in 2011.

It is the largest year-on-year rise ever seen and further secures the US as Scotland's number one export market for farmed salmon.

One-quarter of salmon production – equivalent to 43,703 tonnes – was sent to the US last year, which the industry believes makes the fish Scotland's largest food export.

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The total value of all Scottish salmon exports – fresh, frozen and smoked – to the US last year was £211 million, out of a total US salmon market valued at £1.08 billion.

The new export figures were released as Scottish Development International (SDI) and a delegation of 14 Scottish seafood companies, attended the International Boston Seafood Show, which finishes today.

It is North America's largest seafood event with 18,000 buyers and sellers from more than 120 countries, and in excess of 900 exhibitors. Those in the Scotland pavilion include Orkney Islands Seafood, the Scottish Salmon Company and Grieg Seafood Hjaltland. The latter won the retail category of the Seafood Excellence Awards for their Limoncello Gravadlax product.

Anne MacColl, SDI chief executive, said: "These new figures strongly reinforce the importance of the North American market for the Scottish seafood industry. This is hugely encouraging and it's vital we continue to build on our success by increasing trade relationships with influential salmon and seafood buyers across the world.

"SDI is committed to supporting food and drink companies to increase their exporting activities. By working collaboratively with our key partners including Scottish Salmon Producers' Organisation and Seafood Scotland, we believe we can further boost international food and drink exports and in doing so, deliver long-term sustainable growth for Scotland's economy."

Scott Landsburgh, chief executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers' Organisation, said: "Scottish salmon has achieved a 20% share of the £1bn US salmon market. Last year was the largest rise of exports and it underlines the confidence US buyers and consumers place on the high quality of Scottish salmon.

"Continuing to develop our international offering is vitally important for our sector. Recent news that the US is the number one market for Scottish salmon demonstrates the increasingly successful collaboration between Scottish producers and US buyers. The US market remains a huge opportunity for Scotland."

Greig Seafood Hjaltland is based in Lerwick, Sheltand; Orkney Herring has its headquarters in Stromness; and the Scottish Salmon Company is based in Edinburgh.