- 6 Aug 2018
FOI reference: FOI/18/01782, FOI/18/01869
Date received: 28 June and 9 July 2018
Date responded: 2 August 2018
You asked for copies of photos of Scottish farmed salmon and Scottish salmon farms during 2018 (if there are further photos from the four cases already released) and during 2016 (over and above the photos already released of Marine Harvest farms) (FoI/18/01782) and copies of photos of farmed salmon (dead and alive) following treatment with the Thermolicer, Hydrolicer, Optilicer and other mechanical treatments since 1 January 2016 (FoI/18/01869).
In relation to FoI/18/01782 I clarified with you, on 5 July 2018, that the scope of this request was to be a continuation of a previous request – FoI/18/01141 and that the information you were actually seeking related to: Photographs of diseased farmed salmon associated with FHI inspections / visits conducted during 2016 and 2018 (excluding any information already provided to you).
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.
Please find the web link below containing photographs which have been taken as part of the Fish Health Inspectorate's statutory inspection programme. For the time period of the requests we have released all photographs associated with cases which are completed and published in accordance with the FHI case publication plan, where by those photographs relate to images of diseased farmed salmon. The photographs are grouped according to their case number which is a unique number identifying any one particular FHI visit. Please note that we do hold some additional photographs which relate to this request but these have been provided to you previously through our response to FoI/18/01141.
The images should be viewed in line with the case inspection notes – available at: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/marine/Fish-Shellfish/FHI/CaseInformation which provide additional context to the population of fish stocked on site at the point of inspection, as well as the findings and observations from the inspection and sampling undertaken.
The Fish Health Inspectorate's (FHI) mission is to support the Scottish Government's vision of a sustainable, growing and diverse aquaculture industry whilst maintaining the high health status of farmed and wild fish and shellfish stocks in Scotland by preventing the introduction and spread of listed and emerging diseases. The FHI do this by undertaking statutory inspection and sampling programmes, providing advice to stakeholders and implementing regulatory functions in accordance with the current aquaculture and aquatic animal health regulations.
The attached images have been identified as within scope of this request. The majority show fish which have been removed and euthanised for post mortem analysis and investigative testing by the FHI.
Photographs are taken as they are a useful tool in the analytical process and it is important to view these photographs in context. The photographs attached have been taken as part of the Fish Health Inspectorate's risk based surveillance programme, which involved 160 inspections relating to fish farms in 2017.
In the wild, the reproductive strategy of fish, particularly salmon, is to produce a large number of offspring with the aim that a proportion will survive to adulthood. Fish are subject to a number of pressures in the environment, particularly naturally present pathogens and other environmental parameters, with farmed fish being no exception. It can therefore be expected that some fish will experience challenges to good health. Those fish which have been removed by the FHI represent a very small proportion of the total number of fish on an aquaculture site (for example 5 fish from sites holding between 250,000 to 1.8 million fish). The images attached do not present any human health concerns and are not a representation of the entire fish population on site.
In many cases these actions have been undertaken in support of on-going investigations which were being conducted by the farm veterinarian and in-house animal health professionals.
The photographs can be accessed through the following weblink: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/roj2qq783oh04fh/AAA6TbtL-EKVydWyEgNVSq1Ga?dl=0
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
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House