Access and license conditions for FishDAC Data

Accessing data

At the onset of operating as a Fisheries Data Archive Centre, Marine Scotland has prioritised the registration and visibility of data already being submitted to international surveys at the ICES Data Centre.

As development of the FishDAC progresses, Marine Scotland aims to release downloadable data sets with access to them referenced through the metadata that are available on the MEDIN Data Discovery portal. Data will be published on the marinedata portal with digital object identifiers to allow appropriate citation of the datasets.

Marine Scotland will seek to make data available in a variety of formats to ensure access to a wide range of end users and applications. Where more specialist data are made available, data will be provided in a format that can be read by open source applications or freely available web services and applications.

In short

  • Access to survey data may be via links to other systems, where Marine Scotland contributes to wider data collections – mainly at ICES
  • Links are provided through metadata at the MEDIN portal.
  • Data will be provided in common formats that can be accessed by open source or freeware applications


Privacy protection and releasing data

Marine Scotland works with many different collective and individual stakeholders in the fishing industry. It also has an obligation to protect personal information under the Data Protection Act. It also has to respond appropriately to data requests made under Freedom of Information Scotland Act (FOISA) and Environmental Information Regulations (EIR).

This imposes both obligations and constraints on the release of information and that means, where legal and necessary, data will be released in a form that does not allow living individuals or legal entities to be identified either directly or indirectly.  For most of the data collected and analysed by Marine Scotland for scientific purposes, there is no issue in releasing the data, while other data collected for regulatory or licensing purposes may hold personal information linked to the data and/or comprise data that could be inferred to relate to an individual or legal entity that could not be legally disclosed without further processing.

In such cases, we will typically aggregate data to a level that removes the risk of illegal disclosure.

You can submit requests to Marine Scotland for data and information outwith the scope of the fisheries data archive centre, but each request will be treated as a Freedom of Information or Environmental Information Regulation request, and be subject to the same limitations in terms of protecting personal data.

Marine Scotland will increasingly release and make available as much of its fisheries data as possible. 

In short

  • Increasingly, non ssensitivie information will be made directly avaialble on the Marine Scotland Data portal.
  • Personal information  will not be released and neither will data that can be attributed directly or indirectly to an individual or legal entity.
  • You can request data that are not found available from Marine Scotland. These requests will be treated as FOI or EIR requests, and are handled in accordance with Scottish Government guidelines.



When Marine Scotland releases data specifically for the purpose of acting as the Scottish Fisheries Data Archive Centre, they are released under the Open Government Licence. This means that you are free to work with and redistribute the data, but must acknowledge the source of the data. Please read the license in full to ensure that you aware of its conditions.

In many instances the fisheries data will already be available on the internet either as part of routine publications by Marine Scotland, or as part of international collaborations on surveys and projects. In such cases, there will always be links pointing to the authoritative data source within the metadata records located on the MEDIN Data Discovery portal.

Where fisheries data from Marine Scotland forms part of wider collections, the access conditions may include the acceptance of other data policies or licenses on those systems (for example, if you want to access the International Bottom Trawl Survey data collected by Marine Scotland, we point to the whole survey collection at ICES. To access the ICES DATRAS system, you will need to agree to the ICES Data Policy). 


In short

  • Data are released under the Open Government Licence unless otherwise stated.
  • When data are stored on other systems, different license conditions or data policies may apply.