- 22 Aug 2018
Date responded: 16 August 2018
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.
I should also highlight to you that in addition to the voluntary reporting of mortalities, legal requirements also exist within The Aquatic Animal Health (Scotland) Regulations 2009. Under the regulations a relevant person must immediately notify the competent authority (in this case the Fish Health Inspectorate operating on behalf of the Scottish Ministers) or a veterinarian, of any known or suspected increased mortality occurring in aquaculture animals. Failure to notify is an offence under those regulations. The definition of increased mortality is contained within Annex 1 of Council Directive 2006/88/EC (implemented in Scotland through The Aquatic Animal Health (Scotland) Regulations 2009).
Therefore, the information that we do hold will be recorded through either FHI surveillance information (published in accordance with a publication plan), or within the FHI mortality events spread sheet. The appropriate extracts from the spread sheet are provided to you in response to this request, but exclude information given to you previously through our response to FoI/18/01466. Please also note that, whilst mortality reports indicate a cause of mortality, it is often not possible to determine the exact cause of death in any particular event with respect to every individual fish. Therefore the most likely cause or causes are identified by on-site trained personnel and veterinarians.
You may also be interested to know that the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation (SSPO) have, very recently, started to publish fish farm mortality information. You can find further information regarding the same on the SSPO website through the following link:
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at FOI Response
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House