1. Please provide a copy of the study undertaken by the Scottish Oceans Institute and Clyde Fishermen’s Association referenced at paragraph 11 of the current Clyde Cod Spawning Closure Consultation ( available https://www.gov.scot/publications/clyde-cod-spawning-closure-2022-23-consultation/documents/ )
2. All correspondence within Marine Scotland and between Marine Scotland and external parties with reference to this study, since 1st January 2019.
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 you requested.
An exception under regulation 11(2) of the EIRs (personal information) applies to some of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party and disclosing it 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. You will note that this information has been redacted throughout the disclosed documents.
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 regulation 10(4)(d) (the request relates to material which is still in the course of completion, to unfinished documents or to incomplete data) and regulation 10(4)(e) (internal communications) of the EIRs applies to that information.
These exceptions are subject to the 'public interest test'. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, 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 on the basis of interest in an open and transparent government. However, this is outweighed by the public interest in not releasing draft information until these documents have been finalised and signed off, following due process and appropriate scrutiny. The report that you have requested will be made available as soon as possible following its final review. It was referred to in the consultation document in good faith that it will be made available by Clyde Fishermen's Association (CFA) at the earliest possible date. It was unfortunate that circumstances outwith our control or that of CFA, (namely due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the impacts of EU Exit), caused delays to this report being finalised and published. We are in the process of scheduling a date in January to hold a meeting to review the report and hope that
this will enable publication shortly afterwards.
There were also a number of draft documents which fitted the scope of internal correspondence under your request but met the exception under regulation 10(4)(e). Again, we carried out a public interest test and found that on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exception. As referred to above, we do recognise that there is some public interest in release on the basis of interest in an open and transparent government. However, in the case of these documents, this is outweighed by the public interest in not releasing documents which contain elements relevant to internal policy decision making. In the case of these documents, their subject matter - the public consultation documentation - has been published on the Scottish Government web pages.
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
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