FOI reference: FOI/18/00252
Date received: 27 January 2018
Date responded: 12 February 2018
A list of all fixed penalty notices and civil sanction notices issued by officers authorised to do so in terms of sections 60 and 61 of the Aquaculture and Fisheries (Scotland) Act 2013 in the period from 16 September 2013 to the latest date for which figures are available. The list should include details of the nature of the infraction alleged, the name of the recipient, the amount of the penalty, the location and the date. In relation to the notices which have been issued pleased confirm if these have been complied with, appealed against, or otherwise disposed of.
In this request, you have asked for information with regard to two different enforcement regimes. There is the fixed penalty notice (FPN) regime, guidance for which can be found at www.gov.scot/resource/0048/00483779.pdf which was set up under the Aquaculture and Fisheries (Scotland) Act 2007 and amended by the 2013 Act which you quote; and the separate fixed and variable monetary penalties regime provided for under the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 which was also amended by the 2013 Act.
Fixed Penalty Notice Regime
Information with regard to the Fixed Penalty Notice regime is provided in Annex B. FPNs are essentially a private agreement between Marine Scotland Compliance and the individual concerned and paying such a penalty is not an admission of guilt and no criminal record attaches to the acceptance of an FPN.
In addition to providing some of the information that you have requested, I have also added some further detail where a fixed penalty is marked in the annex as "not paid". In such circumstances we are required to report these cases to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) for consideration of prosecution so I have included these for completeness.
Fixed and Variable Monetary Penalties Regime
There have been no fixed monetary penalties or variable monetary penalties issued. You may be aware that there is a certain amount of overlap between the two regimes as they both cover penalties for offences under Part 4 of the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010. An amendment to the 2010 Act ensured that only one or the other could be issued in respect of an offence under Part 4.
I enclose a copy of most of the information you requested. We have with-held the names of individuals who have been offered Fixed Penalty Notices; and have also with-held the locations of the suspected infringements. The reasons for this are outlined below.
Reasons for not providing information
An exemption under section(s) 38(1) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested. Specifically, this is the name of the recipient and the location of the suspected infringement.
Releasing the name would, in our view constitute personal information about a person who was suspected of having committed a criminal offence. It's release would, in our view, be in breach of an enactment, namely the Data Protection Act 1998.
Releasing the location would, in our view, constitute personal information about a person who was suspected of having committed a criminal offence. This is because the location details could be compared with other publicly available information which could in turn lead to identification of the vessel and, from that, the identity of the master of the vessel.
This exemption 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 exemption.
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