23rd October

Freedom of Information mechanism fails to unearth publicly-funded report

Why is the official report of a major EU-backed scientific project involving Irish State Agencies not readily available here, asks the December issue of Inshore Ireland.

SUMBAWS report

The report is believed to include detailed information on the impact of sea lice on wild salmon and sea trout. The SUMBAWS Project 2002 - 2005 (SUstainable Management of interactions Between Aquaculture and Wild Salmonid fish) studied the impact of sea lice on wild populations of salmon and sea trout, and details the results of experiments by fisheries biologists in Ireland, Scotland, Netherlands and Norway.The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) also contributed to the project.

"Our story chronicles the efforts of a representative of the Irish aquaculture industry to procure the SUMBAWS report, and his contention that it may contain information relevant to the debate on sea lice and wild salmon,” says Gery Flynn, features editor.

Inshore Ireland reports that two requests by IFA Aquaculture to obtain the SUMBAWS report through the Freedom of Information mechanism were refused, and that their request for it under the Public Access to Environmental Information process also failed.

Inshore Ireland's requests to the Department of Communications Energy and Natural Resources; Inland Fisheries Ireland and the ESRI for the report also failed, requiring the paper to also initiate a FoI.

On December 30, Inshore Ireland was notified that its FoI was refused on the basis that the information requested ‘is not held by or for the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources and accordingly pursuant to Section 15(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2014 the Department is not in a position to provide the report requested’.

Inshore Ireland is now lodging an appeal to this decision.


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