17th December

Inshore Ireland denied salmon/sea lice report from government department

Inshore Ireland masthead

Almost five months after Inshore Ireland first requested a copy of a significant report on interactions between aquaculture and wild salmonid fish from the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, it was eventually received under FOI - but from another agency.

Documents released by the Marine Institute in March include a copy of the SUMBAWS report. These documents also indicate that the report was in fact held by the DCENR, who passed it to another government department in August 2009.

The SUMBAWS Project (2002-2005) is a major study costing €2.3m of which €1.5m was EU funded. SUMBAWS includes findings from Ireland, Scotland, Netherlands and Norway. Irish contributions were provided by Inland Fisheries Ireland and the Economic and Social Research Institute.

Timeline

18 September 2014, Inland Fisheries welcomes publication of the NINA Review (SUMBAWS is referenced in the biographical detail of the IFI staff member who contributed to the review, but is not cited in the review itself)

7 October 2014, Inshore Ireland requests a copy of SUMBAWS from Inland Fisheries Ireland (Inshore Ireland makes three additional requests but SUMBAWS is still not provided)

12 November 2014, Inshore Ireland requests SUMBAWS from DCENR press office. This request is refused

13 November 2014, Inshore Ireland writes to Minister Alex White requesting him to provide SUMBAWS. A copy was not provided.

28 November 2014, Inshore Ireland requests SUMBAWS from the DCENR under Freedom of Information

30 December 2014, FOI request rejected

12 January 2015, Inshore Ireland appeals FOI decision

13 January 2015, Inshore Ireland requests specific documents from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) under Freedom of Information

22 January 2015, DCENR affirms original decision and again rejects FOI request

16 February 2015, Inshore Ireland requests specific documents from the Marine Institute under Freedom of Information

6 March 2015, Marine Institute provides SUMBAWS and other specified material

16 March 2015, Inshore Ireland requests the Information Commissioner to investigate why the DCENR denies holding the SUMBAWS report, and why to date it has refused to provide it

Full comment in the April/May issue of Inshore Ireland, publishing March 28

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