Information

Cases of illegal fishing within Scotland’s Marine Protected Areas: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002


Information requested

"Marine Scotland Compliance's submissions to the Procurator Fiscal relating to all cases of illegal fishing within Scotland’s Marine Protected Areas and areas subject to mandatory fishing areas (seasonal and/or permanent) which have been heard in court in 2020 and in 2021 to date, as well as any correspondence received from the Procurator Fiscal relating to the outcomes of these hearings and sentencing? Can you please include all information submitted, redacted to ensure compliance with the Data Protection Act, and including specifically the standard prosecution reports, any impact statements, VMS logs, relevant sales notes and landings declaration forms and officer statements".

Response

I attach a copy of some of the information you requested.

However, you may wish to contact the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service at 25 Chambers Street, Edinburgh EH1 1LA who may be able to help you.

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 an exemption(s) under section(s) 34 Information held for the purposes of a criminal investigation; and section 35 Substantial prejudice to prevention or detection of crime, of FOISA applies to that information. The reasons why these exemptions apply are explained below.

Reasons for partial refusal

The following information that you have requested has not been provided:

  • Standard Prosecution Reports
  • Officer Statements
  • Witness statements
  • VMS logs
  • Sales notes
  • Landing declarations

Information held for the purposes of a criminal investigation
The information not released has all been gathered for the purposes of investigating allegations of a criminal nature against an individual. It therefore contains both personal and sensitive personal information in respect of that individual. All of the information is focussed for that purpose and we believe it is therefore not appropriate for these documents to be released. This exemption is subject to the public interest test and we believe that the interests of the public is best served by not releasing the information. Its release could enable individuals to assess the information that we have and make judgements as to how it is gathered and its significance in an investigation. This could then enable individuals to circumvent our processes and hinder our investigations.

Substantial prejudice to the prevention of detection of crime
Any law enforcement organisation relies on information flowing in, from a variety of sources. These sources are often members of the public, who provided statements to our officers, with the expectation that they were provided to us in confidence. To then potentially see their statements in the public domain would undermine confidence in our ability to both protect their identities, and to therefore undertake investigations more widely. This exemption is subject to the public interest test and we believe that the interests of the public is best served by not releasing the information. Its release could enable individuals to assess the information that we have and make judgements as to how it is gathered and its significance in an investigation. This could then enable individuals to circumvent our processes, hinder our investigations, and therefore prejudice our investigations.

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

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