Publication - FOI/EIR release

Offences in relation to salmon farming: EIR release

Published: 29 Apr 2021

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

Published:
29 Apr 2021
Offences in relation to salmon farming: EIR release
FOI reference: FOI/202100164409
Date received: 24 Feb 2021
Date responded: 7 Apr 2021
Information requested

(i) Information relating to all/any offences relating to salmon farming (not all  aquaculture) and not just those offences outlined under section 45 (3) of the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010.  To include all non-compliances and offences relating to salmon farming (in seawater and freshwater); and
(ii) that a table of information detailing the number of each type of notice served and the reason for serving the notice.

Response

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.

Non-compliances and offences

Details of all offences and non-compliances which relate to surveillance conducted under the Aquatic Animal Health (Scotland) Regulations 2009 and The Aquaculture and Fisheries (Scotland) Act 2007 (as amended) are made publicly available through the Scottish Government website:

https://www.gov.scot/collections/publication-of-fish-health-inspectorate-information/

Additional issues identified out with the surveillance programme, for the time period of your request, include:

  • Three additional cases identified relating to authorisation in accordance with the Aquatic Animal Health (Scotland) Regulations
  • Two cases where there was a failure to submit prior notification of the introduction of a consignment under The Trade in Animals and Related Products (Scotland) Regulations 2012

Please find below a table of breaches of marine licences relating to salmon farms for the period covering 1 January 2017 to 24 February 2021:

 

 

Section 43 Compliance Notice

 

 

Advisory

 

 

Section 112

 

Section 113

 

Fixed penalty notice

Late notification

4

4

 

66

1

Exceedance of licensed

amount of substances or objects to be deposited

 

 

1

       

Unlicensed deposit

 

2

     

Missing information on

returns

 

 

3

     

Killing of more seals

than licensed

   

 

2

   

Total

5

9

2

66

1

Please find a link to the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 where you can view details of the different sections referred to in the table above: Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 (legislation.gov.uk).

The table above shows that there have been a total of 66 section 113 breaches. These breaches are of an administrative nature and are breaches of either of the two licence conditions detailed below:

(i) Licence condition 4 - The Licensee must report any killings, and takings, of seals to the Licensing Authority within 48 hours of the seal being killed or, as the case may be, taken.
(ii) Licence condition 5 - The Licensee must submit a quarterly report to the Licensing Authority within 10 days of the end of each quarterly period (the terms “quarterly report” and “quarterly period” have the meanings given in section 113(2) and (3) of the Act, respectively). If no seals have been killed a nil return must be submitted.

I have also attached, as requested, a blank compliance notice template for your reference: Marine (Scotland) Act 2010, Part 4 Marine Licencing – Section 43: Compliance Notice.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because an exception under regulation 11(2) (personal information of a third party) of the EIRs applies to some of the information you have requested. The reason why this exception applies is explained in the Annex to this letter.

Warning letters and Enforcement Notices

With respect to the time period of your request:

Three warning letters and one enforcement notice were issued in relation to issues concerning authorisation with respect to salmon farming businesses and farms

Twenty five five advisory letters, five warning letters and three enforcement notices were issued in relation to the Scottish Government regulatory activity concerning sea lice - https://www.gov.scot/publications/fish-health-inspectorate-sea-lice-information/

You can find examples of warning, advisory letters and enforcement notices through published information on the Scottish Government website where responses to previous requests for greater detail concerning this information have been published: https://www.gov.scot/publications/

As per regulation 6(1)(b) of the EIRs, we are not required to provide any information that is already publicly available and easily accessible to you in another format.

Previous related EIRs request

There is some overlap between this environmental information request and a previous one made by you on 4 February 2019 that we responded to under case reference number FoI/19/00384. In your previous request you asked: “Please provide information on any fines, prosecutions and other offences in relation to seals and salmon farms since 1 January 2017

We advised you that in two separate cases, we had issued an advisory letter for breach of a seal licence and that we had also issued a fixed penalty notice of £2,000 (which was paid) for breach of a seal licence. For the sake of completion I can confirm that these notices aforementioned have been included in the table provided above.

The Scottish Government does not have the information

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested above, because an exception under regulations 10(4)(a) (information not held) of the EIRs applies to that information. The reason why this exception applies is explained in the Annex below.

ANNEX
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 we do not hold any information on prosecutions. 

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 we hold relating to prosecutions, clearly we cannot provide information which we do not hold.

Exception applied

An exception under regulation 11(2) (personal information of a third party) of the EIRs applies to some of the information you have requested.

Regulation 11(2) – To the extent that environmental information requested includes personal data of which the applicant is not the data subject and in relation to which either the first or second condition set out in paragraphs (3) and (4) is satisfied, a Scottish public authority shall not make the personal data available.

An exception under regulation 11(2) of the EIRs (personal information of a third party) applies to some of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation and in section 34(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018.

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.

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG