FOI reference: FOI/18/00189
Date received: 19 January 2018
Date responded: 16 February 2018
A series of 21 questions about Marine Scotland's past and current policies and practices regarding fish farms, including the use of Acoustic Deterrent Devices ("ADDs").
The EIRs only gives a right of access to recorded information which the Scottish Government holds at the date of your request. In a number of your questions you are asking for advice or opinion rather than for recorded information which we hold. With the exception of question 4 we are unable to consider the questions 1 to 3 and 5 to 21 of your request under the EIRs as they are not valid requests for recorded information. I will provide a response to these questions under separate cover from this letter.
Please list all finfish farms within the Inner Hebrides and the Minches cSAC, and outside the cSAC but within 25km of its boundaries, indicating the type and number of ADDs on each farm. For each farm indicate if they hold European Protected Species Licences for the use of ADDs. For farms outside the cSAC but within 25km of the cSAC please indicate the distance from the farm to the cSAC boundary. If you have a map available please supply it.
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 the information that Marine Scotland holds on ADDs at fin fish farms. I also enclose a map. I understand that no relevant European Protected Species licences have been issued at fish farms.
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