Anonymised VMS data September and October 2022: EIR release

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

Information requested

Further to EIR/202300351843, and noting that you rely on the exception under regulation 11 (2) of EIR, the following vessel information on a non-identifiable basis (i.e., disclosing the presence of any vessels within the coordinates and timeframes requested, but not disclosing the name of any such vessels).

All vessels recorded by you as being within the following box of coordinates between 30 September 2022 and 15 October 2022 inclusive:

60 37'N/ 002 46'W

60 15'N/ 002 21 'W

60 20.5'/ 003 49'W

59 59'N/ 003 27'W

All vessels recorded by you as being within the following box of coordinates between 5 October 2022 and 21 October 2022 inclusive:

60° 10'N / 002° W

60° 10'N / 000° 30W

59° 30'N / 002° W

59° 30'N / 000° 30W”


We attach a copy of most of the information you requested. I have enclosed an Excel workbook containing anonymised VMS data in respect of the coordinates requested in paragraphs (2) and (3) of your letter dated 17th April 2023 (original EIR request case reference number 202300351843).

An exception under regulation 11(2) of the EIRs (personal information) applies to some of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation and in section 34(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018. This exception is not subject to the ‘public interest test’, so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exception.

Location data is considered personal data under the Data Protection Act 2018 and all requests are subject to disclosure controls. As part of these controls, random vessel identifiers have been allocated. To preserve anonymity, all vessel identifiers are redacted around the ports of Scalloway and Lerwick. The coordinates of the redacted areas are:

Scalloway: 60° 09’N 001 °18’W; 60° 09’N 001 °15’W; 60° 06’N 001 °15’W; 60° 06’N 001 °18’W

Lerwick: 60° 12’N 001 °12’W; 60° 12’N 001 °06’W; 60° 06’N 001 °06’W; 60° 06’N 001 °12’W

As you have requested data from “all vessels” in your original request, there is data from non-fishing vessels included.

The vessel monitoring system (VMS) is a mandatory requirement for UK and third country fishing vessels over 12m overall length. Other vessels may transmit VMS data including marine protection vessels, research vessels, fish carriers, and aquaculture vessels.

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 - 202300356656 - information released


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

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

Back to top