Publication - FOI/EIR release

Fish Health Inspectorate report from Hellisay fish farm: EIR release

Published: 27 May 2021

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

Published:
27 May 2021
Fish Health Inspectorate report from Hellisay fish farm: EIR release
FOI reference: FOI/202100195490
Date received: 29 Mar 2021
Date responded: 7 May 2021
Information requested

You asked for the FHI (Fish Health Inspectorate) report from the Hellisay fish farm in relation to a recent escape event at the farm. We clarified with you, on 8 April 2021, that your request related to escape events relevant to 2018, 2019 and 2021 and should include both FHI reports issued to the operating company as well as any other FHI reports. We have handled your request under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs).

Response

Attached is a copy of some of the information you have requested. This includes reports issued to the operating company (Mowi Scotland Ltd) as well as an internal escape investigation report conducted by the FHI. These reports are relevant to the 2018 and 2019 escape events.

An exception under regulation 11(2) of the EIRs (personal information) applies to some of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation and in section 34(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018. This exception is not subject to the 'public interest test', so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exception.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide the reports relating to the 2021 escape investigation because exceptions under regulations of the EIRs applies to that information. This includes Regulation 10(4)(a) and Regulation 10(4)(d) and the reasons why they apply in this case are detailed below:

Regulation 10(4)(a) – Information not held at the time the request was received. In relation to the FHI reports to Mowi, with respect to the 2021 escape event, the reports to the company have not yet been written and issued.

Regulation 10(4)(d) – The request relates to material which is still in the course of completion. This applies to the FHI internal escape investigation report, which is, at the time of your request, an unfinished document with incomplete data.

Both exceptions are 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 exceptions. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding both exceptions.

We recognise that there is some public interest in release of reports relating to the 2021 escape incident, as detailed above, because there is a public interest in information relating to aquaculture and its environmental impacts. However, in the case of Regulation 10(4)(a) –clearly we can’t give you information which we don’t have and with respect to Regulation 10(4)(d) the position to release the information is outweighed by the public interest in ensuring that any information which is released to you is both accurate and complete.

In relation to the outstanding reports concerning the 2021 escape event, it is expected that the FHI report to the company and the FHI internal escape investigation report will both be completed by 31 May 2021. Once completed and issued we can make this information available to you should you still require the same.

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Contact

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

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG