Norwegian salmon farmers continue intimidation strategy against Scottish environmentalist

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Ecoceanos News - Scottish Sea Farms (SSF) has requested that environmental advocate Don Staniford be kept within 15 meters of all its farms and marine properties. Earlier, Norwegian salmon transnational, Mowi, had issued a similar ban against Staniford with respect to its salmon facilities in Scotland. The injunction was presented to the sheriff of North Strathclyde by lawyers Shepherd and Wedderburn on behalf of Scottish Sea Farms. They pointed out that on several occasions since 2018, activist Staniford visited their farms "uninvited and without permission" to make videos for social media. Corporate lawyers argued that these incursions were unlawful and that his conduct poses a risk to the safety and welfare of the company's staff.
Shepherd and Wedderburn noted that "the pursuer (SSF) has no knowledge of what training - if any - the defender (Staniford) has received in terms of the legislation and regulations that apply to the aquaculture industry." They add that "the presence of the defender and its associates at the pursuer's aquaculture sites poses a risk to the health and safety of the pursuer's personnel. The presence of the defender and its associates at the pursuer's aquaculture sites represents a risk to their own health and safety."
The Norwegian-owned company's lawyers stated in their application that "Staniford's visits put biosecurity at marine sites at risk," and then condescendingly indicated that "the defendant (Staniford) will not be prohibited from acting lawfully as an environmental activist," stating that "the terms of the requested injunction do not interfere with the responsible exercise of his right to peacefully and lawfully protest."
For his part, Gerry McCormick, SSF's chief health and safety officer, said, "Unauthorized visits to our work sites without understanding the strict health, safety and biosecurity protocols in place put lives at risk (...). So while we understand and respect an individual's right to protest, we simply cannot remain silent while someone endangers their own life, the lives of our team and fish stocks." McCormick stated that "having tried repeatedly over the past few years to convey the potential risks and dangers, but having ignored this advice, we are left with no choice but to seek legal intervention to help keep everyone free from harm."
Scottish Sea Farm operates in Scotland through Norskott Havbruk, a 50/50 joint venture of Norwegian companies Lerøy Seafood Group ASA and SalMar AS. These companies have investments in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, France, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Turkey and the Shetland Islands.
Don Staniford is being legally represented by attorney Jamie Whittle, a partner in the law firm of R&R Urquhart of Forres, and a referral attorney for the Environmental Law Foundation, a charity that describes itself as "the voice of ordinary people and communities who must be heard on matters that affect the environment in which they live."
In Chile, Ecoceanos Centre expressed its solidarity with Don Staniford, founder of Scottish Salmon (formerly Scottish Salmon Watch) and director of the Salmon Farm Protest Group (UK), indicating that "he is an outstanding companion in the struggle, who for 18 years has been monitoring and providing valuable documented information to the public on events of chemical contamination, the use of toxic fungicides, the abusive use of antibiotics and antiparasitics, seal slaughters, massive infestations of parasites, and massive escapes from salmon farms. and massive salmon escapes from fish farms".
Juan Carlos Cárdenas, executive director of Ecoceanos Centre indicated that this new intimidation by the salmon companies against Staniford "is part of a coordinated communication campaign and legal accusations that the salmon mega-industry is implementing in Chile, Norway, Scotland and Canada, with the objective of intimidating environmental and human rights defenders, and coastal and indigenous communities that resist their destructive operations and territorial expansion" (1),(2).
The veterinarian and director of Ecoceanos alerted the public to the role that the billion-dollar salmon industry is playing in the countries and territories where it operates, by controlling government officials, the media, politicians and parliamentarians.
"This obscure situation threatens the democratic system of the societies where it operates -as is the case of Chile-, where it constitutes a "de facto power" that influences and conditions public policies, weakens bills that protect the environment, public health and marine biodiversity, or carries out actions in the courts to weaken governmental controls, participation and citizen control".
For this reason, Ecoceanos Centre called on citizen, human rights, consumer and coastal community organizations to be alert and denounce the intimidating actions of the salmon industry against organizations and activists like Don Staniford at a global level.

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