Student or Learner
I would like to know what does "artefact" mean here. Is it something like "an error" or a fabrication?
Although Marine Harvest is the biggest operator in Scotland of salmon farms and is shortlisted for the Stewardship Award at the recent Crown Estate sponsored “Marine Aquaculture Awards 2013”, this is a higher than expected number of breaches from Marine Harvest farms. The S&TAS queried this with SEPA who replied that “the results are unlikely to be impacted by an artefact of the reporting or recording process”.
"Artefact" (this is the British English spelling; it's "artifact" in American English) in this case means something observed in a scientific investigation or experiment that is not naturally present but occurs as a result of the investigative procedure. It appears that the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency is saying that even if there was an irregularity in the Salmon and Trout Association's findings, the overall results would not be affected.
(I read the entire article you linked just for the halibut. The very thought of fish lice gives me a haddock.)