- 21 Oct 2020
Date received: 18 Aug 2020
Date responded: 15 Sep 2020
Imports of ova (salmon eggs) and Infectious Salmon Anaemia (ISA) since 16 December 2019 and further specified:
Ova import data since the last imports detailed in the information disclosed via FOI-19-02663 (i.e. data since 16 December 2019).
Information in relation to discussions re. ova imports since 16 December 2019, to include discussions with the Norwegian Government, egg companies, salmon farming companies and other parties. This would also include any emails, letters, Cabinet Briefings, press updates and other information on ova imports in relation to salmon farming. It would also include any correspondence with EFTA/ESA, Mattilsynet (Norwegian Food Safety Authority), European Commission, AquaGen, Benchmark (Stofnfiskur), Landcatch (Hendrix Genetics), Mowi, Scottish Sea Farms and any other parties in relation to ova imports since 16 December 2019.
Information on any disease risks and biosecurity concerns of ova imports. This would include any discussions, emails, letters and other information relating to Infectious Salmon Anaemia (ISA) which would certainly include reference to Norwegian salmon farming.
I have been asked by the Director of Marine Scotland to carry out the review because I was not involved in handling your original request. I have looked at the case afresh to establish whether the original response should be confirmed, with or without modifications as appropriate, or a fresh decision should be substituted.
In your request you asked us to review the following in relation to the response you received:
1. Could you please double-check that the FOI reply is complete and all documents have been included?
the Scottish Government's FOI reply failed to include any information relating to discussions with the Norwegian Government, EFTA/ESA or Mattilsynet (Norwegian Food Safety Authority).
surely there is more information than the information disclosed on 7 August by the Scottish Government?
for example, AquaGen's press statement - cited as a PDF in the FOI disclosure (Word) surely generated some internal discussion?
2. Scottish Salmon Watch takes issue with the exemption re. internal communications….Scottish Salmon Watch is of the view that any discussions of drafts to media and other responses and exchanges via email should be disclosed via FOI as part of an open and transparent government. We therefore ask you to reconsider this exemption as part of this FOI review request.
I have now completed my review of our response to your request and concluded that the original decision should be confirmed, without modifications.
In response to your concerns relating to potential missing information, I have reviewed the searches completed prior to responding to your initial request and carried out some additional checks and searches for information that may have been omitted. I am satisfied that the searches completed were sufficient to identify all of the information held and can confirm that my subsequent checks and searches have not identified any further information. I can therefore confirm that the Scottish Government does not hold any additional information which falls within the scope of your request.
Regarding your request to reconsider the application of Exception 10(4)(e) of EIRs (internal communications) to some of the information you requested, I am satisfied that the exception under regulation 10 (4)(e) was correctly applied and that the public interest in upholding this exception outweighs the public interest in release, for the reasons set out in our original response. I have taken account of the comments you raised in relation to the public interest and have also reviewed decision 011/2020 to help inform my review decision. I have concluded that we were entitled to apply an exception under regulation 10(4)(e) to a small amount of information to allow officials the private space, to discuss, review and exchange candid views over the drafting of responses relating to media queries.
In your email requesting this review you also asked if the original FOI disclosure will be published online. This information has now been published and is available to view here:
You may find it helpful to note that the Scottish Government publish all information disclosed in response to information requests, however there is no statutory obligation to do so. We aim to publish this information as soon as possible following release.
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