Salvage site information regarding sunken barge off Portree coast: EIR release

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

Information requested

“Could you please provide information on the alleged incident at Bakkafrost Scotland's Portree salmon farm? Marine Scotland is listed above on the distribution list. Presumably, if there has been a toxic leak, then Marine Scotland would have been notified and would have been involved. Further information on this alleged pollution incident would be much appreciated.”


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.

Marine Scotland Directorate were advised that a salmon farm feed barge had sunk in the vicinity of Bakkafrost Scotland’s Portree site on 27 November 2021. Since the sinking, Marine Scotland Directorate has worked with partner organisations providing environmental advice.

The immediate response to the sinking saw the removal of both fuel & plastics from the sunken barge and the fish feed compartments were sealed to prevent the loss of fish feed to the marine environment prior to any wider salvage operations being taken forward.

Marine Scotland Directorate was recently made aware that low-levels of hydrogen sulphide had been detected at the salvage site. Bakkafrost Scotland confirmed on 15 September 2022 the safe and successful conclusion of gas venting from the sunken barge.

Marine Scotland Directorate continue to provide an advisory role helping to ensure that potential environmental impacts are considered and mitigated against where necessary as the salvage operations continue.

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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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