Anti-aquaculture activist’s actions in Scotland mirror some of the bullying and harassment experienced by employees of BC-based salmon farmers

“Irrational” anti-salmon aquaculture activist to face court hearing

Anti-aquaculture activist’s actions in Scotland mirror some of the bullying and harassment experienced by employees of BC-based salmon farmers

By Fabian Dawson

Mowi Scotland is seeking a permanent court injunction to prevent an anti-salmon aquaculture activist, described by a judge as someone who will “twist facts to conform to his own personal view”, from accessing its farming sites.

The fish farmer said it has commenced proceedings seeking orders preventing Don Staniford from entering onto, attaching vessels to or approaching within 15 metres of all structures, docks, walkways, buildings, floats or pens at its salmon aquaculture farming sites.

Despite repeated requests not to do so, he has continued to put himself and the company’s employees and animals at risk, Mowi Scotland said, adding, “Mr. Staniford gave undertakings to Court this week to not act as complained of pending a full determination of the proceedings.”

“This person’s behaviours and actions that we have borne witness to over the past two years gives cause for great concern, and is not something that our staff should have to endure whilst going about their daily work,” said Mowi Scotland COO Ben Hadfield.

“Everyone should be able to go to work and expect their workplace to be free of harassment and intimidation,” he said.

“We have not wanted to pursue legal recourse, but we cannot stand by and watch any person risk injury to themselves or for them to intentionally or unintentionally bring harm to our employees or our fish. These incursions are dangerous, unauthorised, risk our strict health protocols and have an unacceptable impact on our dedicated employees.”

In an email to SeaWestNews, Staniford said “I will be defending Mowi’s legal action in the strongest terms.”

“I look forward to debating these vital legal issues in open court,” he said.

Staniford, a British national was deported from Canada in 2012. He did not dispute that he had been living in BC illegally since his visa expired in 2010.

His anti-fish farming antics while in BC, triggered a defamation suit brought against him by Mainstream Canada, then the province’s second largest salmon farming company.

According to court records, Staniford arrived on the B.C. scene in 2004 as a paid employee of Friends of Clayoquot Sound.

In her decision, Madam Justice Adair of the BC Supreme Court said there are many problems with  Staniford’s credibility. 

“I have concluded that Mr. Staniford is akin to a zealot. Virtually anything that conflicts with his view and vision is wrong, bad, disgraceful and worse…He is highly suspicious. Neutral facts will lead him to jump to irrational conclusions, she wrote.

Justice Adair said Staniford “cruelly and publicly mocks people who have different points of view …. He is aiming to ridicule and humiliate people who do not agree with his views.”

Blogging during the trial, the judge noted he demeaned and mocked the physical appearance of three witnesses, including calling one female witness “a fat-bottomed girl,” and then said she should be flattered by the reference.

Staniford’s actions mirror some of the harassment and   bullying experienced by employees of BC-based salmon farming companies 

Among those targeted are the women in BC’s aquaculture industry, who have been victimised on the activists social media channels with comments like “Enemy of our natural resources”, “Lock her up”, “Better a sister in a brothel than a brother on a salmon farm” and “She’s cute. She will land on her feet.”

(Facebook image of Don Staniford)