Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) and fishing surveillance data: EIR release

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

Information requested

Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) and fishing sightings/surveillance data for the following ICES Rectangles - 46E5, 46E6 and 47E5, 47E6 from 2015 to 2021.


I attach a copy of some of the data you requested:

  • VMS Data from 2015 – 2021
  • Sightings data 2015 – 2021 – to note that the column activity is broken into “F” and “S” meaning Fishing and Steaming.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested. Therefore we are unable to fully complete your request under the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs. The reasons why that exception applies are explained in the Annex to this letter.


The Scottish Government does not have the information. Under the terms of the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs (information not held), the Scottish Government is not required to provide information which it does not have. The Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested because this information is not held within VMS data we receive.

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. While we recognise that there may be some public interest in information about fishing sightings clearly we cannot provide information which we do not hold.

Due to the size of the files we are unable to upload the documents referred to above. If you wish to consider, please contact us at the address below and we will be happy to provide.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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