information concerning notifications of Infectious Salmon Anaemia virus (ISAv) in Scottish salmon, particularly with respect to the OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health), Defra, and also in relation to some specific stakeholders, all since the 1 January 2021. In addition, you asked for information relating to the testing of farmed salmon for ISA virus in 2020, 2021 and 2022. The full details of your request are replicated within the response section of this reply.
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.
Response to your request
Your request has been numbered as sections 1-6 and is detailed below along with our response to the
1) Could you please provide further information on notifications of Infectious Salmon Anaemia (ISA) in Scottish salmon as reported to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) by the Scottish Government and/or DEFRA?
2) Could you please provide specific details on the reporting mechanisms of ISA in Scottish salmon including how, when and to whom the cases in 2021 and any in 2022 were reported to the OIE?
3) Could you please therefore provide specific details on how the ISA positive cases since 1 January 2021 – the Loch Spelve ISA positive at Scottish Sea Farms in May and the ISA positive at Landcatch’s Ormsary Hatchery in November as well as any other cases - were reported to DEFRA and the OIE?
The Scottish Government has already explained, through a response to one of your previous requests – FoI 202100259475, that positive results for ISAv, obtained through the aquatic animal health
surveillance programme in Scotland, are reported to Defra on a regular basis. Defra undertake onward reporting to the OIE on behalf of the United Kingdom. Reporting is conducted on a 6 monthly basis (as request by the OIE) and copies of the communications which we hold (those being communications with Defra), as relevant to this and previous requests, were provided to you through a review of FoI 202100259475. As you can see from these records reporting is undertaken by email communication made to the Animal and Plant Health and Welfare department within Defra. The dates and times of those communications are included within the email chains which have already been provided to you through FoI 202100259475.
Please be aware that the last period for which the Scottish Government has been requested to provide information to Defra is January to June 2021. Therefore, the reporting of the result relating to Ormsary has not yet been undertaken. There have been no other reports of ISAv made to Defra, for onward reporting to the OIE, with respect to the time period of your request.
In situations where HPR-deleted strains of ISAv are detected, or other listed diseases for which Scotland has recognised disease freedom, then immediate reporting would be undertaken to the OIE
(via Defra), in addition to the six month reporting regime detailed above. This is not necessary for cases involving the detection of HPR0. This reflects the different control strategies in place for the different virus strains of ISA (HPR0 and HPR-deleted) the reasons for which have been explained to you previously e.g. through FoI 202100234467.
Responses to previous requests are published on the Scottish Government website:
4) Please include emails, letters, Cabinet Briefings and correspondence with Scottish Sea Farms, Landcatch/Hendrix and any other parties in relation to the reporting of ISA in Scottish salmon.
5) Presumably there are emails with Scottish Sea Farms and Landcatch and perhaps Salmon Scotland (formerly the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation) discussing the ISA positives in Scottish salmon. Please include that correspondence and any other information relating to the reporting of ISA in Scottish salmon since 1 January 2021.
Please find attached some email communications relating to the reporting of ISAv within Scottish Government, between officials within Marine Scotland and between officials and Scottish Ministers. A formal record of result reporting, to relevant stakeholders, is provided through the specific case information and supporting Fish Health Reports issued to individual companies. All of this information, associated with the aquatic animal health surveillance programme within Scotland, is subject to active publication on the Scottish Government website: https://www.gov.scot/collections/publication-of-fishhealth-inspectorate-information/
Initial communications following the first detection of ISAv and subsequent confirmation of HPR0 were, for both the Loch Spelve and Ormsary cases, made by telephone call for which we hold no written record beyond that detailed on the individual case paperwork, published as detailed above.
6) Finally, in terms of the farmed salmon and wild fish tested for ISA in 2020 (5 samples of farmed fish and 2 samples of wild fish were reported as collected in the second semester of 2020) and 2021 (4 samples of farmed fish were reported as collected in the first semester of 2021) could you please provide further information.
Please include any test results, photos, locational details, species information and other details relating to the sampling of farmed fish and wild fish for ISA in 2020, 2021 and thus far in 2022.
The Scottish Government publishes the details of aquatic animal health surveillance, including test results, photos, species information and many other details relating to the inspection and sampling of aquatic animals as part of the surveillance programme. The web link to this information has been provided above.
Locational details are either available through the case information or can be cross referenced through other publicly available information resources such as Scotland’s Aquaculture website:http://aquaculture.scotland.gov.uk/
Some of the information you have requested is available from publicly available information resources, including: Scottish Government’s web pages relating to publications (which includes previous FOI requests and responses issued; web pages relating to the publication of information associated with the aquatic animal health surveillance programme in Scotland; and Scotland’s Aquaculture website. All references to these are detailed above. 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. If, however, you do not have internet access to obtain this information from the website(s) listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.
An exception under regulation 11(2) of the EIRs (personal information) applies to some of the email communications provided to you 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.
A further exception under regulation 10(4)(e) of the EIRs (internal discussions) has been applied to a small amount of the information you have requested. This relates to internal communications
concerning the drafting of the fish health report in relation to the detection of ISAv HPR0 at the Ormsary fish farm site.
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. We recognise that there is some public interest in release of the discussions leading to development of the final fish health report. However, this is outweighed by the public interest in upholding this exception. The release of unfinished versions of the report into the public domain may be misleading and not convey the full information of the reporting which was undertaken. This is further enhanced by the fact that the final version of this fish health report has been published in its entirety.
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.
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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