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NASF Norway to Support Salmon Activist on Trial in Canada

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Salmon activist Don Staniford Salmon activist Don Staniford

Reddvillaksen.no (the Norweigan branch of the North Atlantic Salmon Fund) supports Don Staniford in his trial against Mainstream (Cermac) where he stands accused of defamation with USD10k in financial aid.

The remit of Reddvillaksen.no is: "On behalf of future generations to ensure viable populations in all Norwegian salmon and sea-trout rivers." To achieve this target it is important to focus on what has caused a dramatic decline of the wild salmon stocks throughout the North Atlantic region. Causes for the decline are complex but our goal is clear: If we can ensure that more salmon survive to the spawning stage, salmon stocks will increase. We are working to reduce the impact of the known threats, which are:

  • Salmon farming. Sea-lice from caged fish infest and kill migrating smolts; escapes of farmed salmon that cause genetic problems and spread diseases; the production of fish feed /fish oil (sandeel, sprat, etc.) which affects many species in the food chain and can cause biological pollution.
  • Salmon fishing at sea. Commercial fishing for salmon in the sea with nets and long lines. This impacts on the mixed populations of salmon belonging to many countries.
  • Angling. High killing rate of salmon by anglers, which reduces spawning stocks.
  • Disease. Threats caused by diseases such as Gyrodactylus salaris - a parasite that kills smolts.

Reddvillaksen.no will focus on these problems at home and on an international perspective. Our continuous work is on behalf of one of the best adverts for a healthy environment - the wild salmon. We support initiatives that promote this kind of work.

Norwegian-owned salmon farming companies are now present worldwide and have comprehensive operations in Chile, Scotland, Canada and Vietnam, among others. The aquaculture industry's impact on the external environment is basically the same everywhere as long as one uses today's open cages, but the degree of influence is also dependent on the operating parameters of these companies made by local authorities. In many places there is lack of rules and lack of control, salmon farmers can do whatever they want. Everyone remembers the disaster in Chile a few years ago. Production was stopped for many years due to a catastrophic disease outbreak. Cermac was and is still a major player in Chile, together with other Norwegian fish farmers.

Reddvillaksen.no claims that the existing framework for aquaculture does not safeguard the environment. In relation to food production that takes place on land, under control of stringent restrictions relating to pollution and diseases, salmon farming has an advantage related to production costs. Why can’t the salmon industry include the cost of behaving respectably and responsibly in their calculations?

Salmon-activist Don Staniford has to meet the Norwegian aquaculture giant Mainstream in the Supreme Court of British Columbia, Canada. Mainstream, which is owned by Cermac (the Norwegian government is a majority shareholder) has accused Staniford of defamation. Legal documents show that Mainstream's lawyers have over a long period persistently attempted to gag Staniford and the Global Alliance against Industrial Aquaculture (GAAIA), which has fronted the fight against the farming industry in Canada.

Mainstream asked him to withdraw his comments in public. Staniford responded one minute after the deadline to send the picture of a cigarette packet with health warning graphics, marked "Norwegian-owned" and "salmon farming".

The statements that Staniford has used are designed as health warnings, and illustrate the aquaculture industry and the salmon it produces are unhealthy. This is what this trial is about, says Mainstream lawyer David Wotherspoon, according to Canadian Press http://ca.news.yahoo.com/fierce-fish-farm-opponent-remains-defiant-face-b-100013817.html.

Since 1996 Don Staniford has worked fearlessly and tirelessly for wild salmon issues.

Migration of wild salmon in Pacific waters is the foundation for major ecosystems and many local communities. Aquaculture, based on Atlantic salmon, has led to species and diseases that are not found naturally in BC. These have subsequently spread to wild populations of Pacific salmon in this area.

The board of Reddvillaksen.no has concluded to support Don Staniford by sending USD 10,000 to support his trial. We will encourage others who are concerned about freedom of speech and nature to do the same.

This is David fighting against Goliath, and an important stand for the principles of freedom of speech. Mainstream has engaged Canada's third largest law firm and has called ten witnesses. Staniford is represented by a small firm.

Reddvillaksen.no is concerned that the freedom of expression is safeguarded in the debate about the industry. The fish farmers and government agencies within Canada, seem to put a lid on documented environmental problems caused by fish farming in British Columbia. This is the core of Staniford's case. It is possible to agree or disagree about procedure in such a situation. However, it is totally unacceptable for enthusiasts to be muzzled. We support Staniford because there is an imbalance in the resources available to the parties in the upcoming trial.

We emphasize that Reddvillaksen.no is not an opponent to salmon farming in general, but will fight for sustainable production in closed facilities. The industry must be faced with other measures and regulations in line with what applies in other industries within food supply.
 
In this respect it is important that “the ceiling is high" in the debate about the future for this industry.
 







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Atlantic Salmon, NASF, Atlantic Salmon, Pacific Salmon

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