Information on jellyfish inside and around salmon farms including:
1) any monitoring data on jellyfish inside and around salmon farms; data on mortalities on salmon farms attributed to jellyfish; welfare problems and disease problems caused by jellyfish on salmon farms; and any other information pertaining to jellyfish (including 'microjellies') and salmon farming.
2) any photos, videos, emails, letters, 'expert advice' provided by Marine Scotland Science and other information relating to jellyfish inside and around salmon farms.
3) information on any scientific research looking into salmon farming as a cause of jellyfish blooms or scientific research on salmon farms exacerbating jellyfish blooms.
4) information on warming sea temperatures and outbreaks of jellyfish at salmon farms.
Your request was subject to clarification on 22 August 2023 to establish a time scale and further understanding with respect to some of the terminology used. You confirmed that the time scale of the request
should date back to 1 January 2018 and that with respect to the phrase ‘other information’ then this could relate to PowerPoint presentations, Excel spreadsheets, PDFs etc.
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.
A copy of some of the information you have requested is enclosed. In particular, this includes some summary information relating to mortalities attributed to jellyfish / plankton, along with some ministerial advice concerning mortality and welfare, and marine heatwaves. This information is provided in Annex 1 of this response.
Some of the information you have requested is available from the Scottish Government website. In particular:
1) Reports of aquatic animal health surveillance conducted by the Fish Health Inspectorate (FHI) where such reports relate to salmon farms and observational details relating to the presence of jellyfish on or near salmon farm sites have been recorded. Such reports may also detail welfare and disease problems caused by jellyfish in cases where this has been observed. Photographs where taken as part of an individual case are also published along with the case information:
Publication of Fish Health Inspectorate information - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)
2) Mortalities reported to the FHI in accordance with reporting requirements detailed within the industry code of good practice - Chapter 4, section 3.5:
3) Weekly plankton samples are collected and analysed by Scottish Government’s Marine Directorate (SGMD) for the presence of gelatinous zooplankton at both Stonehaven and Loch Ewe – two sites in the Scottish Coastal Observatory (SCObs). SCObs data which have been quality flagged is available to download online:
Data which has yet to be quality flagged can be made available on request. Information on how to use the quality flag system when interpreting SCObs data can be found through:
4) Information relating to scientific research concerning jellyfish and salmon farms can be obtained through simple internet searches.
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.
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested. Therefore we are refusing some aspects of your request under the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs. Further detail and the reason why exception 10(4)(a) applies is explained below.
Under the terms of the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs (information not held), the Scottish Government is not required to provide information which it does not have. The Scottish Government does not have some the information you have requested because:
1) Excluding the information referred to in relation to SCObs the Scottish Government does not undertake monitoring or collect monitoring data relating to the presence of jellyfish in and around the cages of salmon farms
2) Excluding your own video footage, provided to us as part of this request, we hold no video footage relating to jellyfish inside and around salmon farm cages
3) SGMD are not currently involved in any research relating to salmon farms exacerbating jellyfish blooms
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. While we recognise that there may be some public interest in information about jellyfish and the specific areas referred to above, clearly we cannot provide information which we do not hold.
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.
- File type
- 1 page PDF
- File size
- 95.4 kB
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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