Surveillance data for commercial fishing vessels: EIR release

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

Information requested

I would like to request surveillance (observation) data for commercial fishing vessels for the period 2017-2022 for the following ICES rectangles:

  • 41E8, 41E9, 41F0, 42E8, 42E9, 42F0, 43E8, 43E9, 43F0

I would like to request the following details:

  • Location (lat/long)
  • Gear type
  • Vessel nationality
  • Vessel status (active fishing, steaming or laid stationary)"

In order to help us provide you with the information required, clarification was sought from you on 19 September 2023 with respect to your question above:

"Further to your email on 07 September 2023 it would be helpful to gain some clarity on your request for information under EIR Case Reference: 202300375050.

Could you please clarify what is meant by the terms “surveillance (observation) data” and would it be acceptable to interpret this as sightings by our ships and aircraft?"

Your response received on 19 September 2023 stated:

"Many thanks for your email. Yes, that is exactly correct, sightings from your ships and aircraft is what I meant by observation / surveillance data."


I am providing a copy of all the information that we hold that you have requested. The sightings are anonymised, so no vessel identifier is included.

The fields are:

  • ICES Rectangle of sighting
  • Vessel nationality
  • Vessel type
  • Longitude of vessel
  • Latitude of vessel
  • Vessel activity at time of sighting
  • Comments

If there are less than 5 vessels of a stated nationality and gear type within a rectangle, then the longitude and latitude are redacted and the comment field says “Less than 5 vessels”.

*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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