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Publication - FOI / EIR Release

Ministerial correspondence relating to salmon mortality: EIR release

Published: 28 Nov 2017

Information request and response under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004.

FOI reference: FOI/17/02574
Date received: 27 October 2017
Date responded: 24 November 2017

Information requested

1. In the last three years, how many farmed salmon by numbers and total weight, have died as a result of a) amoebic gill disease b) sea lice and c) treatments?

2. Of the farmed salmon that have died, please can you give a breakdown by site, where they have died?

3. How were the carcasses of the dead salmon disposed of, and where? 4. Any email correspondence between Aileen McLeod and Marine Scotland between the dates 21 November 2014 and 17 May 2016.

5. Any email correspondence between Roseanna Cunningham and Marine Scotland between 18 May 2016 and 27 October 2017.

Response

Points 4 and 5 of your request ask for any correspondence in relation to points 1-3 of your request.

As the information you have requested is 'environmental information' for the purposes of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), we are required to deal with your request under those Regulations. We are applying the exemption at section 39(2) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), so that we do not also have to deal with your request under FOISA.

This exemption is subject to the 'public interest test'. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption, because there is no public interest in dealing with the same request under two different regimes. This is essentially a technical point and has no material effect on the outcome of your request.

Marine Scotland's Fish Health Inspectorate (FHI) collect some information regarding mortality, mortality causes and mortality disposal, through both the aquatic animal health surveillance programme and a voluntary reporting requirement. However, this is not a comprehensive record of fish farm mortality, mortality causes or mortality disposal routes. This is information which Marine Scotland does not hold in full. Therefore we are refusing parts 1, 2 and 3 of your request under the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs as we do not hold the information that would allow us to provide answers to these questions. The reasons why that exception applies are explained below.

Information relating to FHI aquatic animal health surveillance is published through an active publication plan on the Scottish Government website:

http://www.gov.scot/Topics/marine/Fish-Shellfish/FHI/CaseInformation

Information held in published case documents also includes information on a fish farms usual method of mortality disposal.

Responses to previous FoI requests are also published on the Scottish Government website:

https://beta.gov.scot/publications/, and we have published information that we hold on mortalities on Scottish fish farms in 2016 until 18 September 2017 - https://beta.gov.scot/publications/foi-17-02089/.

You may also be interested in the Finfish Mortalities in Scotland report commissioned by Zero Waste Scotland which provides evidence for suitable animal by product compliant disposal routes for Scottish finfish farming waste; http://www.gov.scot/Topics/marine/Fish-Shellfish/FHI/healthpractice/ZeroWasteMort

These links may have some information relating to your request, but as explained above, this information will not answer this part of your request in full.

With respect to parts 4 and 5 of your request I enclose a copy of all of the information you requested.

You will note that some information has been redacted from that supplied. This is information that falls outwith the scope of your request, as well as a small amount of personal data. An exception applies under regulation 11(2) of the EIRs to the personal data, and the reasons why this exception applies are explained below.

Reasons for not providing information

The Scottish Government does not have the information.

Under the terms of the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs (information not held), the Scottish Government is not required to provide information which it does not have. The Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested because, as explained in the main body of the letter above, we do not hold a comprehensive dataset on mortalities on Scottish fish farms.

This exception is subject to the 'public interest test'. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exception. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exception. While we recognise that there may be some public interest in information about mortalities on Scottish fish farms, clearly we cannot provide information which we do not hold.

An exception applies.

An exception under regulation 11(2) of the EIRs (personal information) applies to a small amount (names of junior officials) the information requested because it is personal data of a third party and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Schedule 1 to the Data Protection Act 1998. This exception is not subject to the 'public interest test', so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exception.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses

FOI-17-02574 - related correspondence.pdf

50 page PDF
1.2MB

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference

Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG

Published:
28 Nov 2017
Ministerial correspondence relating to salmon mortality: EIR release