FOI reference: FOI/17/03056
Date received: 18 December 2017
Date responded: 22 January 2018
Information on cleaner fish relating to diseases and mortalities since 1 January 2017, to include correspondence, letters, photos and other data on mortalities and diseases in cleaner fish during 2017.
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.
We hold relevant information relating to your request but most of this is is published and is available from the following sources:
1. http://www.eurl-fish.eu/ - for example the report of the 21st Annual Workshop of the National Reference Laboratories for Fish Diseases. Further scrutiny of the website may reveal additional information relevant to your request.
2. Wallace IS, McKay P, Murray AG. A historical review of the key bacterial and viral pathogens of Scottish wild fish. J Fish Dis. 2017; 00:1–16: https://doi.org/10.1111/jfd.12654
3. Isolation and characterisation of a new ranavirus isolated from lumpfish in the north Atlantic area: https://www.ranavirus.org/2017-4th-international-symposium-on-ranavirus/
Under regulation 6(1)(b) of the EIRs, we do not have to give you information which is already publicly available and easily accessible to you in another form or format. If, however, you do not have internet access to obtain this information from the website(s) listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.
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 an exception under regulation 10(4)(d) (material in the course of completion, unfinished documents or incomplete data) of the EIRs applies to that information. The reasons why that exception applies are explained in the Annex to this letter. In this case I can inform you that we hold additional information in relation to the abstract provided at 3, detailed above, and that further publication of information is expected within the short to medium term in relation to this.
You will also find some additional information through Marine Scotland's Fish Health Inspectorate's active publication plan. This involves the publication of case information relating to aquatic animal health surveillance in Scotland. Information is published on a quarterly basis, three months in arrears: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/marine/Fish-Shellfish/FHI/CaseInformation
Attached is a photograph of a lumpfish taken during a site visit conducted as part of the Fish Health Inspectorate's aquatic animal health surveillance inspection programme.
Reasons for not providing information
An exception applies.
An exception under regulation 10(4)(d) of the EIRs (unfinished or incomplete information) applies to some of the information you have requested because it is material which is still in the course of completion. This work forms part of a wider publication, that will be submitted for peer review and publication in due course.
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. We recognise that there is some public interest in release as part of open, transparent and accountable government, and this will be met by our planned publication. However, this is outweighed by the public interest in ensuring that unfinished or incomplete information which is still in being worked on is not disclosed before it has undergone peer review and is published in the same way that most scientific research is published.
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