FOI reference: FOI/18/00821
Date received: 15 March 2018
Date responded: 12 April 2018
How many fish counters are there in Scotland, in 2018?
How many were there in each year between 2007 and 2017?
Documentation from Marine Scotland outlining a plan for the expansion or reduction of the number of fish counters?
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 a copy of some of the information that you requested. The attached spreadhseet shows the number and locations of fish counters in Scotland currently, to the best of our knowledge. Please note that the spreadsheet information depends on returns from local Fisheries Boards and Trusts and may be incomplete. I have also attached a jpeg file containing a map of the fish counters recorded in this spreadsheet.
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested. In particular, we do hold a record of fish counters in Scotland in each year between 2007 and 2017, and at present we do not have a documented strategy for developing the network of fish counters.
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.
Some historical information on fish counters may be found in the following reports:
- Simpson, I. (2003) Inventory of adult fish counters and traps. FRS Internal Report – available to download at
- Eatherley, D.M.R et al (2005) Trends in Atlantic salmon: the role of automatic fish counter data in their recording. SNH Commissioned Report No 100 – available to download at
- page 7 of the report has a map of fish counters in 2005
There is no annual assessment of fish counters, but it will be possible to use this spreadsheet to inform development over time.
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested. Therefore we are refusing 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 at present Marine Scotland has not produced a documented strategy for developing fish counters. However, we are undertaking a process that will lead to such documentation in due course. A technical report has been commissioned to assess costs and options for applying fish counters in different types of river (http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2016/03/5757)
A fish counter group has been formed under the Salmon Liaison Group (http://www.gov.scot/Topics/marine/Salmon-Trout-Coarse/fishreform/licence/Technical)
An officer has recently been recuited (commencing 1 April 2018) with specific responsibilities to take forward development of a fish counter network. Marine Scotland has been working closely with Fisheries Management Scotland to map locations of existing counters and associated data and is in the process of assessing options for future developments.
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 fish counters in Scotland 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