- 8 Jun 2021
Date received: 28 Apr 2021
Date responded: 26 May 2021
The following information relating to the razor clam fishery dating from 1 February 2017 to date [28 April 2021]:
1. Total landings & values (by creek where possible).
2. Number of days fished.
3. REM data sufficient to provide a footprint of the fishery.
4. Any information that indicates any changes in Landings per Effort Unit (LPEU).
5. Enforcement activity including number of boardings & inspections (including check-weighed inspections) per trial area, suspected illegal activity, and any enforcement action taken.
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.
Attached is a copy of some of the information 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 exceptions under regulations 10(4)(d) (unfinished or incomplete information) and 11(2) (personal data) of the EIRs applies to that information. The reasons why these exceptions apply is explained below.
Reasons for not providing information
An exception under regulation 10(4)(d) (unfinished or incomplete information) applies to some of the information requested. This exception applies because the electro-fishery for razor clams is an ongoing scientific trial. The trial aims to determine the effects of electrofishing on the species, and provide an improved evidence base for the future management of the fishery. Progress and findings to date are published in annual summaries that are made available online at the following links.
The 2021-2021 report is due to be published shortly.
The data will be analysed, and results reported publicly, when data collection is complete.
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 some public interest in release as part of open, transparent and accountable government, and this will be met by our planned publication on completion of data collection and analysis. However, this is outweighed by the public interest in ensuring that incomplete information which is still being collected and analysed, is not disclosed when it might misinform the public.
A further exception under regulation 11(2) (personal data) of the EIRs applies to some of the information requested. This applies to some of the landings data if reported to the level of a creek and to remote electronic monitoring (REM) data, which is being analysed to study where catches are taken, and combining fishing effort and landings data to monitor landings per unit effort (LPUE). This data is the personal data of a third party and disclosing them would contravene the data protection principles in Article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation and in section 34(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018. 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.
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