Confirmation of Cooke Aquaculture’s licence status to shoot seals: EIR release

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

FOI reference: FOI/18/03327  
Date received: 31 August 2018
Date responded: 14 November 2018
Information requested

"From what I can see online, Cooke Aquaculture does not hold a licence to shoot seals this year. Would you be able to confirm if this is the case or not?

I would like to know were these shootings reported to you by the shooter, who was licensed to take this type of action and were there any non-lethal attempts made by the shooter to prevent this from happening beforehand?”


As the information you have requested is ‘environmental information’ for the purposes of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EISRs), 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 answer to your question is that Cooke Aquaculture Scotland Limited holds 2 seal licences covering the period 01 February 2018 to 31 January 2019 (Licence Numbers: ONC10/2018/W and S01/2018/W). This information, along with information regarding returns provided to Marine Scotland, was uploaded to our website on 02 October 2018 and is available to view at:

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Central Enquiry Unit 
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government 
St Andrew's House 
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