FOI reference: FOI/17/01613
Date received: 12 July 2017
Date responded: 10 August 2017
You asked the following questions in relation to a Marine Scotland Science document: Using Catch Data to Examine the Potential Impact of Aquaculture on Salmon & Sea trout, published online on the Scottish Government website and dated January 2016.
Who asked Marine Scotland Science to provide an independent assessment of the catch data.
Email correspondence from within Marine Scotland Science relating to this document or the research from which it was taken, from January 2015 to July 2016.
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.
The assessment was requested in 2011 by Willie Cowan, then head of the Performance, Aquaculture and Recreational Fisheries Division of Marine Scotland.
The assessment was posted on the Marine Scotland website in 2016 for the benefit of all interested parties.
There is no email correspondence relating to the document from within Marine Scotland from January 2015 to July 2016. Therefore, we are refusing this part of your request under the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs. The reasons why that exception applies are explained below.
Reasons for not providing information
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 the assessment was carried out a number of years ago, and no emails on the subject were sent or received in your specified time frame.
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 internal discussions about a published document, 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
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House