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Animal Concern Advice Line News

Access to Information Team
Strathallan House
Castle Business Park


Dear Sir or Madam,

I write concerning an incident on Friday 13th September 2019 in which a lorry carrying morts from a salmon farm shed a large quantity of dead salmon and associated liquor onto the A86 near Laggan.

It is highly possible that these morts are fish which have died or been culled due to an outbreak of any of several illnesses, including highly infectious viruses, which are known to occur on salmon farms on a regrettably frequent basis. If even very small quantities of this material reach watercourses containing wild salmon or seatrout it could devastate a river system.

The aftermath of this incident was filmed and uploaded onto social media by a passing motorist. I have already sent SEPA links to this footage and the comments which accompany it.

The footage clearly shows vehicles driving through the morts which are spread over the entire roadway and verges for a distance of perhaps 100 metres or more. Comments from some of the motorists who drove through the morts clearly state that their vehicles were still contaminated with residue from the morts when they arrived home.

I was therefore shocked to read in today's Daily Record report (link below) on the incident the following direct quote from SEPA; “SEPA is satisfied waste wouldn't have entered any watercourses.”

I am intrigued to know how SEPA came to this conclusion so quickly. Did you consider the fact that debris was spread perhaps hundreds of miles on the underside of lorries, buses, cars and motorbikes? Was the removal of material by scavenging birds or animals taken into account? Did you consider the movement of debris on the footwear of the lorry driver and those people who stopped at the incident site? That is one of the risks salmon farmers take very seriously, insisting visitors step in a disinfectant footbath before going onto a farm site.

From his social media profile I note that at least one person who walked amongst the waste is a salmon angler. This gives rise to the risk of his carrying any contaminates to the next water he fishes.

To find out how SEPA decided the waste didn't contaminate any watercourses I request, under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 and/or the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004, copies of all communications both internal and external, including letters, emails, memos, meeting minutes, reports and notes plus (should they exist) any transcripts, notes or recordings of telephone calls, referring to this incident from the time SEPA were first notified of it.

I would be grateful if you would acknowledge receipt of this request and I look forward to receiving the information requested within the time scales stipulated in the relevant Act(s).

Yours faithfully,

John F. Robins,
Animal Concern

Link to Daily Record article referred to above: