Mortality events on salmon farms involving cleaner fish since 2010: FOI release

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

FOI reference: FOI/18/02175
Date received: 10 August 2018
Date responded: 7 September 2018
Information requested
You asked for information on mortality events on salmon farms involving cleaner fish between 2010 and today's date (including all wrasse species and lumpsuckers). You further specified that this should include:
  • The date(s) of the mortality event;
  • The number of cleaner fish involved in the mortality event, or failing this, the weight of mortalities;
  • The cause of the mortality event.

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.

In relation to your request, any relevant information that we hold will be found within the case information relating to site inspections conducted by Marine Scotland’s Fish Health Inspectorate (FHI) as part of the aquatic animal health surveillance programme.

From the beginning of 2013, the FHI have implementated an active publication plan involving the publication of case information on a quarterly basis, three months in arrears, in relation to surveillance activity. Therefore, information relating to your request from 2013 onwards is already publicly available on the Marine Scotland pages of the Scottish Government website:

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 have searched the records we hold prior to 2013 back until the start of 2010 and attach some additional information in response to your request. I should emphasise that I have interpreted your request for information relating to mortality events in a manner which excludes incidences of ‘background, regular or normal mortality’, with a focus on mortality incidents or abnormal levels of mortality that reflect the use of the term ‘mortality event’ in your request. 

I must also emphasise that the FHI do not hold a comprehensive record of mortalities across aquaculture production businesses and the fish farms which they operate within Scotland.

You can find out more information about the roles, responsibility and activities of the FHI by perusing the FHI Service Charter which is also available on our website:

You may also find the following report useful, detailing the epidemiology and control of an outbreak of viral haemorrhagic septicaemia in wrasse around Shetland commencing 2012:  


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-18-02175 extra information


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit 
Phone: 0300 244 4000 
The Scottish Government 
St Andrew's House 
Regent Road 

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