Correspondence between Cabinet Secretary Mairi Gougeon and the following people regarding The Sea Fish (Prohibition on Fishing) (Firth of Clyde) Order 2022:
- Committee Clerks
- Scottish Government Officials
- Lobby groups
- MSPs from the Scottish Green Party
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.
Some of the information included as attachments in the documents being released are already publically available online:
- The Sea Fish (Prohibition on Fishing) (Firth of Clyde) Order 2022: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ssi/2022/5/contents
- The consultation document: https://consult.gov.scot/marine-scotland/cod-spawning-closure/
- Marine Scotland blog: https://blogs.gov.scot/marine-scotland/2022/02/01/targeted-and-focused-approachto- strengthen-clyde-cod-recovery/
Under regulation 6(1)(b) of the EIRs, we do not have to give you information which is already publicly available and easily accessible to you in another form or format. If, however, you do not have internet access to obtain this information from the website(s) listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.
I attach 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 10(4)(e) (internal communications) of the EIRs applies to that information.
These exceptions are subject to the 'public interest test'. Therefore, in some instances, 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 and increased scrutiny of government decision-making on a policy that has now been publically announced. However, in the case of these specific documents, this is outweighed by the public interest in not releasing documents which contain elements relevant to live internal policy decision making or where there is reference to Scottish Government Legal Department advice where there remains strong public interest in maintaining the right to confidentiality of communications between legal advisers and clients, to ensure that Ministers and officials are able to receive legal advice in confidence, like any other public or private organisation. Where draft documents were withheld, these items either remain still in draft (item 031 and 043) or final versions were completed after the scope of this request (item 044).
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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