On January 17 2023 representatives from the Scottish Fisherman's Federation held a meeting with Michael Matheson.
The purpose of the meeting was recorded as: "To raise SFF's concerns with the Cabinet Secretary about the impact on fishing of the expansion of offshore wind in Scottish waters and to discuss the future offshore energy policy."
Please supply me with all recorded information held by the Scottish Government that relates to this meeting. This could include, but should not be limited to, meeting notes, briefing notes, emails sent both prior to the meeting and following up on the meeting, powerpoint presentations, briefing notes or other electronic messages sent via messaging apps.
Clarification was sought on 2 May 2023 to clarify the time period for which you are seeking information. You clarified the request was made in relation to the 17th January 2023 meeting between Scottish Fisherman's Federation and Mr Matheson and also asked if a recording of the meeting was held to also supply a copy.
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.
I enclose some of the information you have requested. 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 regulations 11(2) (personal information) of the EIRs applies to that information 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.
In regards to the request to supply a copy of any recording of the meeting, 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 the meeting was not recorded.
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 the meeting between the Scottish Fisherman's Federation and Mr Matheson on 17th January 2023, clearly we cannot provide information which we do not hold.
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.
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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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