- 7 May 2019
Date received: 3 Apr 2019
Date responded: 1 May 2019
You asked for information on imports of salmon eggs (ova) involving Marine Harvest/Mowi since 1 January 2018.
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.
Please find enclosed a copy of most of the information that you have requested. For your ease, we have released all import information for all companies for the time period requested not only that which relates Marine Harvest/Mowi. We have presented this in a spreadsheet that will allow you to filter on Marine Harvest/Mowi information.
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide a small amount of the information you have requested because an exception under regulation 10(5)(e) (substantial prejudice to confidentiality of commercial or industrial information) of the EIRs applies to that information. The reasons why that exception applies are explained in the Annex to this letter.
Reasons for not providing information - Annex
An exception applies
An exception under regulation 10(5)(e) of the EIRs (substantial prejudice to confidentiality of commercial information) applies to some of the information you have requested. This exception applies because disclosure of this particular information would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially the confidentiality of commercial information provided by Scottish Sea Farms and thus cause substantial harm to their commercial interests. Disclosing this information would be likely to give competitors an advantage by revealing company or industrial commercial strategy for production of salmon in freshwater, thereby substantially prejudicing future production strategies.
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. We recognise that there is a public interest in disclosing information as part of open and transparent government. However, there is a greater public interest in protecting the commercial interests of companies that provide employment and contribute economically to 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 Andrews House