- 24 May 2018
FOI reference: FOI/18/00982
Date received: 16 March 2018
Date responded: 15 May 2018
'Copies of seal licence return forms for 2016 and 2015 as well as any information on post-mortems, necropsy reports and data on carcasses. Please also include information detailing the change of policy to move from seal licence return forms to electronic data collection. For example, please include emails and correspondence with the SSPO, Marine Harvest, Scottish Sea Farms and other companies as well as internal discussions relating to the seal licence return forms, post-mortems, necropsy reports and data on carcasses.'
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.
I enclose a copy of most of the information you requested.
Where a seal licence return form has been submitted as a document, the forms are enclosed (as PDF and Excel documents) and where information has been collected on the electronic seal management system, the information has been provided in an Excel spreadsheet.
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 the EIRs apply to that information. The reasons why these exceptions apply are explained below.
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested. Therefore we are refusing your request under the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs. The reasons why that exception applies are explained below.
Reasons for not providing information
The Scottish Government does not have the information.
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.
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 seal licence information, clearly we cannot provide information which we do not hold.
Regulation 11(2) – personal data.
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 Schedule 1 to the Data Protection Act 1998. 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.
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 Andrew's House