Publication - FOI/EIR release

Information regarding imported ova into salmon farms: EIR release

Published: 6 Aug 2021

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

Published:
6 Aug 2021
Information regarding imported ova into salmon farms: EIR release
FOI reference: FOI/202100221178
Date received: 7 Jul 2021
Date responded: 5 Aug 2021
Information requested

Data since 17 March 2021 relating to imports of ova into salmon farms in Scotland.

Further, your request also asked for any information since 8 July 2020 on imported ova into salmon farms and any disease risks (since the published response to FoI202000058422 https://www.gov.scot/publications/foi-202000058422/) going on to confirm that this part of the request should include:

  • Discussions with the Norwegian, Irish and Icelandic Governments, egg companies, salmon farming companies and other parties. This would also include any emails, letters, Cabinet Briefings, press updates and other information on ova imports in relation to salmon farming.
  • Any correspondence with EFTA/ESA, Mattilsynet (Norwegian Food Safety Authority), European Commission, AquaGen, Benchmark (Stofnfiskur), Landcatch (Hendrix Genetics), Mowi, Scottish Sea Farms and any other parties in relation to ova imports since 8 July 2020.
  • Information on any disease risks and biosecurity concerns of ova imports would include any discussions, emails, letters and other information relating to Infectious Salmon Anaemia (ISA) and Piscine reovirus (PRV).
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.

Please find the attached data concerning Atlantic salmon ova imports into Scotland for the period of your request. This follows on from the data released under previous requests concerning salmon ova imports.

Also, attached is a copy of a Scottish Government response to a press enquiry from the National newspaper. These lines were issued in response to a request for comment on ‘campaigners calling for an immediate ban on salmon ova imports due to disease risk’. The lines were issued in late August
2020.

A copy of a communication from Scottish Government to Hendrix Genetics is also attached This concerns discussion over imports and the legal requirements in relation to trade and listed diseases. You will note that some exceptions apply to this part of the information released and the detail of this is provided below.

We hold no further relevant information with respect to the subject area and time scale of your request.

You will find further information concerning the disease risk of ova imports through responses to previous FoI requests where context has been provided concerning the international standards in place to allow for the safe trade in aquatic animals and their products. For example, FoI-18-03773 is relevant and the published response can be found on the Scottish Government website: https://www.gov.scot/publications/

Please note that recent changes to the import notification system, combined with the fact that there is no legal requirement to supply Scottish Government with health certificates associated with imports of live aquatic animals, means that the import information provided to you may not be a comprehensive and complete record. We have provided you with all of the information we hold in relation to your request.

Exceptions apply
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.

The response does not include the attachment referenced within the communication between Scottish Government and Hendrix Genetics as detailed above. The attachment, a copy of Commission Decision 2008/946/EC, is publicly available through Her Majesty’s Stationary Office (HSMO). You can access this online: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/

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

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 Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG