Mainstream Canada, a B.C.-based aquaculture company, has filed a defamation lawsuit against a well-known anti-fish farming activist.
The notice of civil claim, filed in the B.C. Supreme Court's Vancouver registry on March 23, states that the defendants, Don Staniford and the Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture, "began a campaign of disseminating and publishing defamatory and false statements of and concerning Mainstream" on or about January 31, 2011.
Mainstream, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cermaq ASA, a Norwegian company that is one of the world's largest fish-farming concerns and salmon-feed producers, is seeking general, special, and punitive damages, interest, and costs.
In its filed statement of facts, Mainstream stated: "The Defendant Don Staniford, whose address is unknown, is an activist and author who publishes materials of and concerning the British Columbia salmon farming industry. Mr. Staniford has been and is currently involved in organizing groups and campaigns to attack the salmon farming industry."
Staniford—an opponent of open-net fish farms who has been described in media reports as a U.K. marine scientist based in Scotland, the European contact for the Pure Salmon Campaign, and a spokesperson for Paddle for Wild Salmon and Salmon Farm Protest Group—has not yet filed a statement of defence in response to the notice of civil claim. Residents outside of North America have 49 days in which to respond.
Among other claims, Mainstream states in its notice that the defendants' "Anti-Salmon Farming Campaign is calculated to injure the aquaculture industry in British Columbia and elsewhere, including Mainstream's business and the reputation and the goodwill it enjoys with its customers".
None of the plaintiff's claims have been proven in a court of law.
In a news release dated March 24, Mainstream Canada stated that it operates three hatcheries, 27 "sea sites", and two fish-processing plants in the Campbell River, Tofino, and Broughton Archipelago areas.
Previously, Staniford had been successfully sued for defamation by Tofino-based Creative Salmon Company Ltd. as a result of two news releases issued in 2005 while he worked for Friends of Clayoquot Sound.
That January 2007 judgement in B.C. Supreme Court, however, was nullified after the B.C. Court of Appeal in February 2009 ordered a new trial.