Publication - FOI/EIR release

Farmed salmon ova imports and pathogen testing: EIR release

Published: 3 Apr 2020

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

Published:
3 Apr 2020
Farmed salmon ova imports and pathogen testing: EIR release
FOI reference: FOI/202000018313
Date received: 28 Feb 2020
Date responded: 2 Apr 2020
Information requested

Several questions relating to farmed salmon ova imports and specific pathogen testing as well as requesting information relating to the testing of farmed salmon for diseases, pathogens and viruses. In addition you have asked for information relating to Marine Scotland Science's commercial testing service conducted on behalf of third parties. The exact specifics of the questions you ask and information you request are replicated under the ‘Response to your request’ section of this reply.

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.

Within your request you raise a number of questions concerning testing and screening relating to the import of ova and ova use in Scotland. Responses to individual questions are provided below but should be read in conjunction with the further contextual information supplied below which set out the wider rationale and regime in place regarding these issues.

1. How many salmon eggs imported into Scotland were tested for PRV and other viruses, pathogens and infectious diseases such as ISA?
No testing of salmon eggs, imported into Scotland, has been undertaken by Marine Scotland Science in relation to the pathogens and diseases you specify.

2. Has Marine Scotland Science conducted screenings of ova for PRV as an extra risk measure to avoid vertical transmission?
No screening of ova for PRV has been undertaken by Marine Scotland Science.

3. What % of ova used by 'Scottish' salmon farms are infected with PRV, ISA and other diseases, pathogens and viruses?
We hold no information on the percentage of ova, used by ‘Scottish’ salmon farms, which are infected with PRV, ISA and other diseases, pathogens and viruses.

4. What % of imported ova were screened prior to entry into Scotland for infectious diseases, pathogens and viruses?
Marine Scotland holds no information on the screening of ova (testing for the presence of pathogens) in relation to ova imported into Scotland.

5. How much of domestically produced ova is sourced from genetic material (ova, broodstock or smolts) sourced from overseas (e.g. Norway, Iceland and Ireland)?
We do not hold information on the genetic variability of the stocks used in Scotland for farming purposes to allow us to answer this question. While we do not hold this specific information, Section 2 of the Finfish Farm Production Survey provides some detail of the origin of ova laid down for farming in Scotland.
https://www.gov.scot/publications/scottish-fish-farm-production-survey-2018/pages/4/

6. What % of domestically produced ova has been screened for infectious diseases, pathogens and viruses such as PRV and ISA?
Screening of ova (testing for the presence of pathogens) is not currently undertaken by Marine Scotland Science in relation to domestically produced ova within Scotland.

Further on in your request you posed an additional question:
What percentage of farmed salmon are infected with PRV, ISA and other diseases, pathogens and viruses?
Marine Scotland Science does not hold information that allows us to answer that question because we don’t test all farmed fish in Scotland. Scottish Ministers are informed of the presence on Scottish fish farms of any listed diseases in order that controls may be imposed where needed. Presently, within Scotland no fish farms farming Atlantic salmon are under restriction for any of the listed diseases.

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Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
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Edinburgh
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