- 20 Jun 2018
FOI reference: FOI/18/01438
Date received: 22 May 2018
Date responded: 19 June 2018
How much data has been collected since the beginning of the scientific trial of electrofishing for razor clams?
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.
The electrofishing for razor clams trial launched on 1 February 2018, 60% of eligible vessels have now been issued with a derogation to allow them to commence fishing and data collection activity under the trial. The trial has a number of objectives aimed at obtaining economic and biological data linked to further developing the sustainable management of the fishery.
In addition to landings and value of landings in each trial area, data is being gathered from remote electronic monitoring devices which have been specifically developed for the trial. This technology provides details of both vessel position (recorded every 10 seconds) and also when the specified electrical equipment is being used i.e. fine scale information on individual fishing locations. The installation of the equipment allows for real time access to the on-board system for Compliance Officers and is a useful scientific tool, the data will collectively provide a footprint of the trial fishery. The trial is using scientific surveys, supplemented by information gathered by fishermen, to build an information base about the razor clam trial areas. Further scientific stock surveys are being planned for 2018 along with a live sampling programme to further the available biological knowledge on the species, such as size at maturity and changes in reproductive condition.
There is an exception under regulation 10(4)(d) of the EIRs (unfinished or incomplete information) which applies to the data gathered by the trial. The trial is in its early stages, data is still being collected and as it stands is incomplete. However, periodically, data gathered will be used in aggregated and anonymous form in publications and reports produced by, for and on behalf of Marine Scotland.
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