Number of mortalities on salmon farms from January 2018: EIR release

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

FOI reference: FOI/18/01868, FOI/18/01893
Date received: 8 July 2018 
Date responded: 16 August 2018
Information requested
You asked for information on the numbers of mortalities on salmon farms since 1 January 2018 and for details of the mortality reporting thresholds - including copies of any correspondence with the SSPO, Marine Harvest and other salmon farming interests (FoI/18/01868). You also asked for information on mortalities and diseases at smolt salmon farms (freshwater and marine) during 2018, with particular reference to Loch Damph in Torridon (FoI/18/01893).

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.
As you will be aware, Marine Scotland’s Fish Health Inspectorate does not hold a comprehensive record of mortality across Scotland’s Aquaculture sites. Snap shots of mortality are captured through our Aquatic Animal Health Surveillance activities, the results and information relating to the same are published through our active publication plan. Further details available on our web site:
In addition to this, voluntary reporting thresholds have been agreed between Scottish Government and the industry with respect to specific development stages of farmed fish. This agreement was reached through the Healthier Fish Working Group and the reporting thresholds which were recommended have been adopted by industry stakeholders. Details of the mortality reporting requirements are contained within the Code of Good Practice for Scottish Finfish Aquaculture (CoGP). I would like to emphasise that this is a voluntary agreement with no statutory basis behind reporting. Please refer to the relevant pages within the CoGP for further information:
Under regulation 6(1)(b) of the EIRs, we do not have to give you information which is already publicly available and easily accessible to you in another form or format. 

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:
In your request you also quoted three mortality reports, sent to you through our response to FoI/18/01466. Those reports are: MRT00577; MRT00582 and MRT00599 relating to The Scottish Salmon Company’s fish farm site Strome (FS0570). You have asked for a further update to the information provided through our response to FoI/18/01466 on the basis that actual mortality was not disclosed and that only the figure of over 1% is provided. Please look closely at the information provided to you through our response to FoI/18/01466. You will note that, for the three mortality event reports you quote, actual percentage mortality has been provided. This is included on the record under the section which states ‘Percentage mortality’.
About FOI
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at FOI Response
FOI-18-01868 mortality information 1
foi-18-01868 - mortality information 2


Please quote the FOI reference:

Central Enquiry Unit 
Email: CEU
Phone: 0300 244 4000   

The Scottish Government 
St Andrews House 
Regent Road 
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