Publication - FOI/EIR release

Information relating to the monitoring of Scottish waters: EIR release

Published: 23 Feb 2021

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

Published:
23 Feb 2021
Information relating to the monitoring of Scottish waters: EIR release
FOI reference: FOI/202000125567
Date received: 13 Dec 2020
Date responded: 14 Jan 2021
Information requested

What planning has taken place (meeting, correspondence, email, telephone, WhatsApp, all electronic media) to ensure that Scottish waters are policed correctly and that foreign vessels are held to account for illegal fishing, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, or any deal that involves reduction in the fishing quote for EU vessels.

What resources have been identified that are required to properly patrol the area?

What organisations, Scottish and UK governmental departments, including defence have been involved in contingency planning, identify these organisations and the contacts, people involved in the discussion and planning, all correspondence associated with these?

All correspondence from Roseanna Cunningham, Fergus Ewing, Humza Yusef, with Police Scotland with Marine Scotland.

Period from 1st January 2020 - current date.

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.

Exceptions apply
In relation to your questions seeking all correspondence and communications in relation to operational planning , we are unable to provide the information you have requested because an exception at regulation 10(5)(b) of the EIRs (Substantial prejudice to the course of justice etc.). An exemption under this section applies to all information you have requested as disclosing this information would prejudice our operational and law enforcement capabilities. Releasing such information would allow people to examine and analyse our operational planning and try and identify ways to circumvent it or otherwise thwart our activity.

The exception applies to all correspondence and communications requested including correspondence and communications between Cabinet Secretaries and Marine Scotland. Marine Scotland does not have information between Cabinet Secretaries and Police Scotland you requested. This exception is subject to the ‘public interest’ test. Therefore, taking into account 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

The information you seek about Marine Scotland’s interaction with other entities in relation to operational planning and law enforcement we list the following organisations:

  • Police Scotland
  • Transport Scotland
  • Joint Maritime Security Centre (JMSC)
  • Department for Environment, Fisheries and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
  • Marine Management Organisation (MMO)
  • Welsh Government, Marine and Fisheries Division
  • Northern Ireland, Department of Environment, Agriculture and Rural Affairs
  • Royal Navy
  • Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA)
  • Border Force

With respect to Marine Scotland assets I provide the following information:

  • 3 x Marine Protection Vessels - Capable of patrolling up to 200NM offshore. These MPVs are equipped advanced detection and monitoring systems.
  • 2 x inshore RHIBs - These RHIBs provide effective monitoring and protection of vulnerable marine environments around Scotland’s coast.
  • 2 x Cessna Caravan II – F-406 Aircraft - Capable of patrolling up to 1150 NM ensuring all parts of British Fishery Limits in Scotland are effectively monitored. These aircraft are equipped with advanced FLIR systems enabling them to monitor large areas.

Further information on Scotland’s marine and fisheries compliance is detailed on the Scottish Government’s website: Marine and fisheries compliance - gov.scot (www.gov.scot). The website also provides details in relation to other UK organisations.

You may also be interested in the an article on enforcement of fisheries which was published on the Scottish Parliament (SPICe Spotlight) website: Guest blog: Troubled waters? Enforcement of fisheries and vessel conflicts in post-Brexit seas – SPICe Spotlight | Solas air SPICe (spice-spotlight.scot).

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