Publication - FOI/EIR release

Meetings between salmon farming organisations and the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy: EIR release

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

Published:
5 Feb 2020
Meetings between salmon farming organisations and the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy: EIR release
FOI reference: FOI/20/00018
Date received: 4 Nov 2019
Date responded: 31 Jan 2020
Information requested

You asked for the following information concerning Cabinet Secretary, Fergus Ewing MSP and his relationship with the salmon farming industry in Scotland:

1. How many meetings the Cabinet Secretary has had with representatives of the following salmon farming organisations since he became Cabinet Secretary in May 2016:

i      The Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation
ii     Marine Harvest (now known as Mowi)
iii    The Scottish Salmon Company
iv    Scottish Sea Farms
v     Loch Duart Limited
vi    Dawnfresh Farming Limited
vii   Kames Fish Farming Limited
viii  Greig Seafood
ix    Cooke Aquaculture Scotland
x     Wester Ross Fisheries

This should include meetings with employees, substantial shareholders, beneficial owners and others associated with those companies.

2. Records or minutes of any meetings held as per the request under 1 above.

Response

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.

In the time period you specify, Mr Ewing had the following number of meetings with representives of the companies you mention above:

Organisation/Company/Group

Meetings

Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation

4

Marine Harvest (now known as Mowi)

6

Scottish Salmon Company

3

Scottish Sea Farms

2

Loch Duart Limited

1

Dawnfresh Farming Limited

6

Kames Fish Farming Limited

0

Greig Seafood

2

Cooke Aquaculture Scotland

1

Wester Ross Fisheries

0

AILG

10

Farmed Fin Fish Summit

1

Total

36

The agendas and action points of the Aquaculture Industry Liaison Group (AILG) are available at https://aquaculture.scot/news-updates/. Under regulation 6(1) (b) of the EIRs, we do not have to give you information which is already publicly available and easily accessible to you in another form or format. If, however, you do not have internet access to obtain this information from the website above, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.

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 part of your request under the exception at regulation 10(4) (a) of the EIRs. The reasons why that exception applies are explained in the Annex.

ANNEX A
REASONS FOR NOT PROVIDING INFORMATION

Exception 10 (4) (a)

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 hold.
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 meetings between Mr Ewing and the aquaculture industry, clearly we cannot provide information which we do not hold.

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 Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG