Please provide information on the use of formalin (formaldehyde) in salmon and trout farming - tarpaulins, tank treatments and any other methods - since 1 January 2015.
Please include Excel spreadsheets, data, emails, letters, reports and any other information related to the use of formalin (formaldehyde) in salmon and trout farming in Scotland.
Please provide information on the quantities used and discharged by producer and farm/site.
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.
We have interpreted your request to relate to the application of formalin (formaldehyde) within salmon or trout farms since 1 January 2015, specifically for information concerning the technical use in aquaculture, including, how often and where it has been used and quantities used or discharged.
Some of the information you have requested is available from various online resources.
Some treatment data is collected by the Scottish Government’s Fish Health Inspectorate (FHI) as part of their inspection activities for the surveillance programme for aquatic animal health in Scotland. Notes on previous treatments can be recorded as part of the inspection process. Details of visits conducted by the FHI can be found at: https://www.gov.scot/collections/publication-of-fish-health-inspectorate-information/. However, this is not a comprehensive data set and is for the purposes laid out in the FHI Service Charter: https://www.gov.scot/publications/fish-health-inspectorate-servicecharter/ pages/introduction/.
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) regulate activities under The Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations 2011 (CAR), which would include tarpaulin treatments. Information can be found on their website: https://www.sepa.org.uk/. Prior to 09 November 2020, a marine fish farm operator required a marine licence from Marine Scotland under The Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 for any discharge of chemical residues from a wellboat. Marine Scotland is not aware that formalin (formaldehyde) was used as a treatment in wellboats during the relevant time period. From 09 November 2020, this regulatory responsibility transferred to SEPA.
Scotland’s Aquaculture website also provides information in relation to CAR licences and treatment reports: http://aquaculture.scotland.gov.uk/
Further to this, previously released information from Scottish Government FOI/EIRs may contain useful information for you. These can be found on: https://www.gov.scot/publications/. Specifically, the information we are releasing to you was also released as the response to FOI/202200303257, which can be found at: https://www.gov.scot/publications/foi-202200303257/. We are re-releasing the information associated with this EIR, along with the final response letter to explain exceptions applied to this information, because it was not publicly available at the time of your request.
Whilst not directly related to your request the following publicly available FOI/EIR releases may also be useful; FOI/202000038615 and FOI/202000109111 and can be found on: https://www.gov.scot/publications/.
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.
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 the information you have requested because, Marine Scotland does not hold a comprehensive data set related to formalin (formaldehyde) use on salmon and trout farms as explained above.
You may wish to contact SEPA for further information on formalin (formaldehyde) use on salmon and trout farms. Details on how to contact them can be found at: https://www.sepa.org.uk/contact/.
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 formalin (formaldehyde) use on salmon and trout farms 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
- 68 page PDF
- File size
- 9.5 MB
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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