Vessels within Razor Clam Trial facilitated with an observer: EIR release

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

Information requested

During and since the start of the scientific Razor Clam Trial, How Many Vessels within the trial has Facilitated an Observer onboard the vessel during fishing for Razor Clams?


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

Response to your request

Condition 4.17 of the terms and conditions of the trial state:

4.17   The vessel must facilitate an observer on board when required. The vessel must have approved additional lifesaving appliances for all persons on board.

To date, no vessels authorised to participate in the trial have been required to facilitate an onboard observer (in accordance with 4.17). This is because the scientific razor clam trial is monitored by other means including by remote electronic monitoring equipment (REM), land and sea based inspections and through the fishers self-sampling scheme. Observers are prioritised to other fisheries where the data requirements can be higher, for example to support international analytical stock assessments.

For clarity, REM devices being used in the trial provide details on both vessel position (recorded every 10 seconds) and also when the specified electrofishing gear is being used, i.e. fine scale information on individual fishing locations. The system comprises of a GPS antenna, recording the position and speed of the vessel at 10 second intervals, a generator sensor recording the electrical output, a control box with internal SSD card, a GSM antenna sending all data to Marine Scotland server via 3G or 4G network when in range.

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