- 12 Mar 2020
Date received: 11 Feb 2020
Date responded: 11 Mar 2020
"…any and all correspondence, no matter how related, email (or any other electronic means), telephone records and letters sent and received by Marine Scotland in relation to a project titled "Wild Salmon Strategy" over the period 01 Jan 2019 to date.
Additionally please provide all correspondence (as previously defined) between Marine Scotland and the Atlantic Salmon Trust and Fisheries Management Scotland within the context of this project from 01 Jan 2019 to date."
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.
I enclose a copy of some of the information you requested.
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because of an exception under regulation 10(4)(e) (Internal Communications), of the EIRs applies to that information and the reasons why this exception applies is explained in the Annex to this letter.
We have also redacted text (some names, e-mail addresses, phone and fax numbers) which may disclose personal data where such disclosure is not permitted in terms of regulation 11(2) of EIR. This exception is not subject to the ‘public interest test’, so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exception.
As you may know, our current Programme for Government includes a commitment to develop a Wild Salmon Strategy by September 2020. We recognise the decline in wild salmon is due to a range of complex factors and have identified 12 high level groups of pressures on salmon and will continue to work within Scotland and beyond with our key partners, such as Fisheries Management Scotland, District Salmon Fishery Boards and Fishery Trusts, to better understand and tackle these issues.
Further detail on these pressures, and some of the key activities underway to help address them, is available online at: https://www2.gov.scot/Topics/marine/Salmon-Trout- Coarse/fishreform/licence/status/Pressures
The Wild Salmon Strategy was discussed in a recent meeting of the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee. You might be interested to read the minutes of that meeting, and refer to columns 11, 12 and 13 in particular. http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx? r=12487&mode=pdf
Some of your request related to material already in the public domain, I enclose links below. These relate to material that came into the scope your request, where the Wild Salmon Strategy, was mentioned:
There is a reference to the Strategy in the response to S5F-03858 (Wild Salmon Stocks - Question 5 - Peter Chapman): http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=12459&i=112634
There is a reference to the Strategy in this press release: https://www.scottishlandandestates.co.uk/news/saving-our-wild-salmon-making-salmon-conservation-national-priority
In a released e-mail of 18 November 2019, slides in preparation for a Wild Salmon Roundtable are referred to. The presentations from the Roundtable are available at: http://fms.scot/january-roundtable-event-scottish-parliament/
Annex - Reasons for not providing information
An exception applies
An exception under regulation 10(4)(e) (internal communications), of the EIRs applies to some the information you have requested. Regulation 10(4)(e) allows a Scottish public authority to withhold internal communications.
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. We recognise that there is some public interest in releasing these documents, however this is outweighed by the public interest in allowing officials a private space within which to communicate as part of the process of developing policy, this private space is essential to enable all options to be properly considered, so that good decisions can be taken based on fully informed advice and evidence.
As these documents relate to early policy discussions, which had not reached final conclusions they would therefore potentially be open to misinterpretation.
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