The most recent figures the Scottish government has on salmon mortality, broken down both by reason for mortality and location.
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 confirmed by email that your request only related to farmed Atlantic salmon. The Scottish Government publish mortality information relating to farmed Atlantic salmon through a number of means:
- Through a voluntary agreement with industry stakeholders, requiring mortality to be notified above specified thresholds to the Scottish Government’s Fish Health Inspectorate (FHI). Mortality notifications are published on the Scottish Government website.
- Through the FHI’s programme of aquatic animal health surveillance, which includes inspections of farmed salmon sites in Scotland. Mortality information is inspected and details are record as part of that inspection process. The information and outcomes associated with inspections are published on the Scottish Government website.
- Marine Scotland produces an annual Scottish Fish Farm Production Survey, the latest publication relating to 2021. Within the survey data provides an estimation of survival rates in farmed Atlantic salmon in Scotland, however, this is a simple difference between inputs and outputs and does not differentiate other situations where fish have been removed as a result of other purposes e.g. escapes, fish culls and fish lost to predation. The data is not site specific and does not attribute causes to losses.
Information relating to 1) and 2) is subject to a proactive publication plan and is published on a monthly basis one month in arrears, and in the case of 2) following the closure of specific cases. In both cases it may not always be possible to attribute the cause of mortality and additionally this can often be complex and a consequence of multiple factors. Information in relation to 3) is published on an annual basis. Details are available through the web links provided above.
It is important to understand that this represents the data held in relation to mortality and that the Scottish Government do not hold comprehensive records of all mortality experienced with respect to farmed salmon in Scotland.
Other information in the public domain
Scotland’s Aquaculture website, developed in partnership between a number of organisations within Scotland, including Marine Scotland, contains monthly biomass and mortality information which is presented by volume rather than number. No causes to mortality are attributed to this data.
Salmon Scotland are an industry trade body who represent the majority of salmon farming companies in Scotland but are not affiliated with Scottish Government. Salmon Scotland publish monthly reports detailing salmon farming mortality across Scotland and also provides data at the individual site level. In some situations causes of mortality are assigned. Further information is available from the Salmon Scotland website.
An exception applies
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 of information you have requested because, as explained above we do not hold comprehensive records of mortality on salmon farms across Scotland.
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 salmon mortality in Scotland, 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.
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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