Advice received from NatureScot and Marine Scotland: EIR release

Information request and response under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004.

Information requested

I am writing on behalf of members of Fisheries Management Scotland who applied earlier in 2022 for a licence to kill or take seals to conserve seals or other wild animals (including wild birds) or wild plants. These licence applications took several months to determine and yet applicants have only been given 14 days in which to appeal.

There are a number of concerns that we have in relation to this licensing process including, but not limited to:

  • MS-LOT’s interpretation of the Conservation of Salmon (Scotland) Regulations 2016, and the subsequent river gradings. These gradings relate to maximum sustainable yield as a benchmark, not to a fully saturated river.
  • The advice given by NatureScot in relation to the lethal removal of some seals potentially having an adverse impact on the conservation objectives for other designated sites.
  • The identification of specialist seals within rivers.
  • The weighting placed on non-lethal measures such as ADDs.
  • Possible inconsistencies in the approach adopted between rivers.

Taking these concerns together we consider that the decision reached for the majority of licence determinations was unreasonable and many of the rivers in question will seek to appeal this decision. However, in order to inform those appeals, it is necessary to see the full advice received by MS-LOT in making these determinations. We therefore request all advice received, including, but not limited to, advice from NatureScot and Marine Scotland Science. Following receipt of that advice in full, our members reserve the right to lodge an appeal to the individual licence decisions. As I understand it, the two-week period quoted in the refusal letters is not a statutory deadline.


I enclose a copy of most of the information you requested.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because an exception under Regulation 11(2) (personal information of a third party) of the EIRs applies to that information. The reason why that exception applies is explained in the Annex to this letter.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at

EIR - 202200306807 - Annex
EIR - 202200306807 - Information release (part 1)
EIR - 202200306807 - Information release (part 2)


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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