Publication - FOI/EIR release

Mortality rate of farmed salmon from hatch: EIR release

Published: 6 Nov 2018

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

Published:
6 Nov 2018
Mortality rate of farmed salmon from hatch: EIR release
FOI reference: FOI/18/02806
Date received: 5 October 2018
Date responded: 2 November 2018
 
Information requested
 

You asked for information on the mortality rate of farmed salmon from hatch (i.e. as eggs in the hatchery) through the hatchery, freshwater and seawater cycle to catch (i.e. as harvested salmon in sea cages for market) since 2010.

 
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.

The Scottish Government does not record farmed salmon mortalities by year but it does publish the percentage of fish harvested from each year class in the annual Scottish fish farm production survey:

https://www.gov.scot/Topics/marine/Fish-Shellfish/FHI/surveys.

Mortality is included in the number of fish not harvested for human consumption.  However, you should note that this figure also consists of fish that have escaped, been culled for production reasons, removed for sampling purposes, statutory culls or selected for broodstock production.Therefore, the number of fish not harvested for human consumption is not the same as the mortality rate.

A year class represents all smolts put to sea in any one year. The production cycle of any year class is complete within two years of transfer to seawater. The Scottish fish farm production survey 2017 was published on the 15th October 2018 and the most up to date information available is for the 2015 year class. The survey report is available on the SG website at https://www.gov.scot/Publications/2018/10/4747

Mortality rate information for freshwater stages of production are not collected but  updates for Tables 14,17,18,19 and 28 are available within the 2017 report.

Year Class

Percentage of Fish Not Harvested

Number of Fish Not Harvested (Millions)

2015

20.9%

9.5

2014

26.7%

12.85

2013

23.7%

9.7

2012

14.6%

6.0

2011

23.0%

9.38

2010

17.2%

6.62

Average

21.02%

9.0

As regards your request for information on the mortality rate of farmed salmon from hatch (i.e. as eggs in the hatchery) through the hatchery, freshwater and seawater cycle to catch (i.e. as harvested salmon in sea cages for market) since 2010, while we have given you what information we can, we do not have the specific information that you have requested. Therefore, we are refusing your request under the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs.  The reasons why that exception applies are explained below.

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 this information is not required to be submitted as part of the annual Scottish Fish Farm Production Survey. Whilst we hold some information on mortality assoaciated with aquatic animal health surveillance activity, undertaken by Marine Scotland’s Fish Health Inspectorate, this is by no means a comprehensive record of mortality and therefore does not facilitate you in terms of this request.   

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 about mortality on salmon farms, clearly we cannot provide information which we do not hold.

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 Andrew's House 
Regent Road 
Edinburgh 
EH1 3DG