Breaches of biosecurity in salmon farming since 1 September 2021: EIR release

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

Information requested

Information relating to breaches in biosecurity in salmon farming since 01 September 2021. You also specifically requested a copy of a letter referenced in the published report for case 2021-0258.


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

I wrote to you to acknowledge your request on 07 February 2023 and stated that we were regarding the term “breach in biosecurity” to mean a significant lapse in a site’s biosecurity measures plan i.e. unintentional discharges, spillages, animal escapes or where a site has not reported significant biosecurity events. You did not provide an alternative clarification so the above was used as the scope to gather the information for this request and providing information directly related to the event and the related procedures (i.e. investigation, reporting or handling) of the event. Therefore, I will be sending you a copy of most of the information you requested.

The information released is related to three breaches in biosecurity. These were an escape event at Grey Horse Chanel, an unintentional discharge at West Strome and an escape event at Colonsay. Both escape events involve the confirmed escape of fish. Escape events occurring within the time scale of this request but where escaped fish have not been confirmed have not been considered as part of our response as they do not constitute a breach in biosecurity.

Some additional information relevant to your request may be available from the following Scottish Government websites:

In particular, case information associated with the Fish Health Inspectorate’s aquatic animal health surveillance programme may contain details on biosecurity breaches. This may include case information and details provided through the fish health reports. This information is subject to a proactive publication plan and is publicly available through the web link 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 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.

Some of the information supplied to you continues to be protected by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. You are free to use it for your own purposes, including any non-commercial research you are doing and for the purposes of news reporting. Any other re-use, for example commercial publication, would require the permission of the copyright holder. Most documents supplied by the Scottish Government will have been produced by government officials and will be Crown Copyright. You can find details on the arrangements for re-using Crown Copyright material on the National Archives website at: Information you receive which is not subject to Crown Copyright continues to be protected by the copyright of the person, or organization, from which the information originated. You must ensure that you gain their permission before reproducing any third party (non Crown Copyright information).

Due to the size of the files we are unable to upload the documents referred to above. If you wish to consider, please contact us at the address below and we will be happy to provide.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at


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

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

Back to top