Publication - FOI/EIR release

Correspondence, emails and minutes for Interactions Working Group: EIR release

Published: 17 Jul 2018

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

Published:
17 Jul 2018
Correspondence, emails and minutes for Interactions Working Group: EIR release

FOI reference: FOI/18/01690
Date received: 14 June 2018
Date responded: 12 July 2018

Information requested

  • Please provide all information relating to the Interactions Working Group - as detailed online via http://www.gov.scot/Topics/marine/Fish-Shellfish/MGSA/Interactionsworkinggroup

  • Please include emails, correspondence, minutes of meetings, Cabinet Briefings, dialogue with the SSPO and other industry partners as well as any other information pertaining to the Interactions Working Group since it was first mooted (prior to Spring 2013) and subsequently 'disbanded' (believed to be in 2015).

  • Please include specific details on how, why and when the Interactions Working Group was disbanded.

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.

Response

Request 1: Please provide all information relating to the Interactions Working Group - as detailed online via: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/marine/Fish-Shellfish/MGSA/Interactionsworkinggroup

Request 2: Please include emails, correspondence, minutes of meetings, Cabinet Briefings, dialogue with the SSPO and other industry partners as well as any other information pertaining to the Interactions Working Group since it was first mooted (prior to Spring 2013) and subsequently 'disbanded' (believed to be in 2015).

Response: Please see attached documents. Information not specifically related to the interactions group has not been included. Some of the information is available online at: http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0045/00456584.pdf

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance an exemption under section 10(4)(e) (internal communications) and sections 10(4)(d) (material in the course of completion) also applies. Therefore we are partially refusing your request under the exception at regulation 10(4)(d) and 10(4)(e) of the EIRs. The reasons why that exception applies are explained below.

Request 3: Please include specific details on how, why and when the Interactions Working Group was disbanded.

Response: The focus of the MGSA Interactions Working Group was to progress four identified workstreams:

  • Fostering local collaboration between aquaculture and wider interests
  • Fostering greater awareness and perceived inclusivity of the Code of Good Practice
  • Facilitating access by Marine Scotland scientists to detailed information on sea lice; and
  • Fostering a more collaborative approach to wild fisheries management

The Group was placed in abeyance and subsequently disbanded in 2015. Although the MGSA Interactions Working Group disbanded in 2015 there has, and continues to be, regular dialogue involving the two sectors. A recent development in this area was the announcement in 2018 of a new Interactions Working Group that will:

  • Look at the conclusions from the Parliamentary Inquiry into farmed salmon in Scotland
  • Evaluate current Scottish Government policy and advice governing wild/farmed salmon sea lice interactions, and review the existing and planned projects around the interactions
  • Make recommendations, including a delivery plan of agreed actions and timescales, for a future interactions approach.

Reasons for not providing information

Regulation 10(4)(d) of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (the EIRs) allows a Scottish public authority to withhold material in the course of completion. As the exception in regulation 10(4)(d) applies, the public interest test has been applied and in this instance, as documents related to the request were still in the course of completion, the public interest in maintaining the exception outweighs the public interest in making the information available. Therefore the information has been withheld.

Regulation 10(4)(e) of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (the EIRs) allows a Scottish public authority to withhold internal communications. As the exception in regulation 10(4)(e) applies, the public interest test has been applied and in this instance, as information requested relates to internal communications, the public interest in maintaining the exception outweighs the public interest in making the information available. Therefore the information has been withheld.

About FOI

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

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference

Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG