Lawsuit

********** Supreme Court of Canada Dismiss Case (13 February 2014) ***********

Here's the Supreme Court of Canada ruling (13 February 2014) dismissing leave for appeal:

 

SSC decision 13 Feb 2014 with stamp

The dismissal of the case means that Don Staniford and GAAIA owe the plaintiff an estimated $500,000 in damages and legal bills.   Moreover, Don Staniford and GAAIA are now prevented via a permanent injunction granted by the courts from "writing, printing, broadcasting or causing to be written" over fifty statements (called the 'Defamatory Words').  Here's the text of the injunction:

 

Injunction

 

 

And here's the 'Defamatory Words' as defined in the 'Amended Notice of Civil Claim' (July 2011) - 52 statements in total: 

 

Defamatory Words #1 Defamatory Words #2 Defamatory Words #3
Defamatory Words #4 Defamatory Words #5

 

 

Read more via:

 


Don Censored

***** BREAKING NEWS - Cermaq wins appeal (22 July 2013!) *****
 

The British Columbia Court of Appeal today (22 July) delivered a shocking SLAPP in the face for freedom of speech.   The judgment by Justices Tysoe, Bennett and Saunders included:

Appeal Judgment #1

 

The judgment concluded:

Appeal Judgment #2

 

"This is a SLAPP in the face," said the Defendant, Don Staniford.  "This shocking judgment will have a chilling effect on all campaigners speaking out on environmental and social justice issues.  The Norwegian Government, as owners in the multinational Cermaq, have effectively abused the Canadian courts to muzzle global criticism against salmon farming."

Cigarette 87 Free Speech
 

"Norwegian companies not only have a monopoly on salmon farming but this judgment sends the signal that they also own the law," continued Staniford.   "The wide-ranging permanent injunction has huge implications for freedom of speech and cannot be allowed to stand.  Basic statements of fact and opinion such as 'Wild Salmon Don't Do Drugs' and 'Friends Don't Let Friends Eat Farmed Salmon' are now outlawed.  Newspapers will now be banned from reporting the facts: of how salmon farming kills sea lions; how salmon farming kills lobsters and how salmon farming spreads infectious diseases.   Scientific journals will now have to re-write papers to comply with the Draconian terms of the permanent injunction.  I will fight this Norwegian multinational all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada via an appeal.  The truth always wins out in the end!"


Don with stickers after lawsuit victory with halo

To see the shocking scope of the permanent injunction – including a copy and the 50+ statements now banned - please read "Censorship Like A Cancer Grows"

For more news please read "SLAPP in the Face of Freedom of Speech!"
 

 

The appeal judgment in the "Salmon Farming Kills" lawsuit was be published by the BC Court of Appeal on Monday 22nd July - read online here

"Win, lose or draw, the Norwegian Government should hang their heads in shame for abusing the Canadian courts to clamp down on free speech," said Don Staniford, the Defendant, before the judgment was delivered.  "This is a blatant SLAPP suit designed to kill global criticism of Norway's disease-ridden salmon farming industry.  However, far from stemming dissent this lawsuit has served only to amplify the campaign to clean up the Norwegian-owned salmon farming industry.  'Salmon Farming Kills' is now common parlance – even at home in Norway where Norwegian newspapers recently reported on the health hazards and scientists warned against the consumption of contaminated farmed salmon."

Read more on the 'Salmon Farming Kills' lawsuit via:

The appeal hearing took place on 28th May 2013 in the British Columbia Court of Appeal in Vancouver.

Appeal Hearing 28 May Court 61 with David

 

Read the appeal documents detailing Cermaq's legal case (factum) in full online here

Read the appeal documents detailing Don Staniford's legal case (factum) in full online here

Read Cermaq's counter-response to the factum online here


Read more via the blog: "Norway Tightens Noose on Free Speech!" and "Censorship Like A Cancer Grows

Don Staniford 28 May court appeal hearing

Please donate to the legal fighting fund online here!

"You cannot appeal the truth," said The Defendant, Don Staniford.  "The fact is that salmon farming kills all around the world and, like cigarettes, should carry a global health warning.  Cermaq should stop fighting a losing legal battle and start relocating disease-ridden salmon farms away from wild salmon.  For the sake of our global ocean, our children's health and the health of our environment, we should stub out salmon farming from the face of the blue planet."


Don appeal truth croppedCourt of appeal


"The Norwegian Government's shameless attempts to suppress freedom of speech must be fought at all costs," continued Staniford who has raised over $100,000 for the legal battle including over $50,000 via Go Fund Me.   "Sadly, the defence of free speech is not cheap and the legal fees are racking up.  Please help support the legal fight and send the message to Cermaq that bullies don't always win!"

Donate to Don's legal battle Vs. the Norwegian Government-owned multinational Cermaq (owners of Mainstream Canada) online here!

Go Fund Me $50K


More details soon!   See below for a case history.............

A useful summary of the case is available online here

***** UPDATE *****

Justice Adair today (19 December 2012) ruled on the issue of costs in the ongoing legal battle between Don Staniford and the Norwegian-owned multinational giant Cermaq - read the Judgment in full online here
 

Costs disposition 19 Dec 2012


Read more via "The Costs of Defending Freedom of Speech" and "No legal-fee reprieve for victorious salmon-farming critic censured by judge"

Staniford files cross-appeal (31 October 2012) - read online here

Mainstream Canada appeals (15 October 2012) - read online here

Don Staniford Wins Lawsuit Vs. Cermaq (28 September 2012) - read judgment online here
 

Don Staniford filed (31 October) a cross-appeal in the ongoing legal battle Vs. the Norwegian giant Cermaq (download online here).
Cross Appeal #3

"You can't appeal the truth," said Staniford speaking from the UK where he is set to embark on a tour of Norwegian-owned salmon farms in Scotland & Ireland.  "The Norwegian Government's shameless attempt to abuse the Canadian courts to muzzle global criticism of the salmon farming industry is doomed to failure." 

Don Stop Nowegian fish farms flag
"The longer Cermaq pursues this SLAPP suit the more the entire industry is tarred with the same brush.  The fact is that salmon farming kills all around the world and, like cigarettes, should carry a global health warning.  Cermaq should stop fighting a losing legal battle and start relocating disease-ridden salmon farms away from wild salmon.  For the sake of our global ocean, our children's health and the health of our environment, we should stub out salmon farming from the face of the blue planet."

  Cross Appeal #1

Cross Appeal #2

 

Appeal Notice with Don #1

 

Read the 'Notice of Appeal' - online here

Read Justice Adair's judgment (28 September 2012) online here


Don with stickers after lawsuit victory with halo

"Mainstream Canada and their parent company Cermaq have once again ignored the first rule of PR: when in a hole stop digging," commented Don Staniford (15 October).  "Cermaq's knee-jerk reaction to appeal is yet another case of this multi-million dollar company shooting itself in the foot.  Common sense is clearly not a currency this Norwegian-owned multinational is used to dealing in"

3 pack shareholders criminal free speech

"The ugly truth is that Norwegian-owned salmon farming kills all around the world," continued Staniford who will be fighting the appeal.  "No amount of sabre-rattling, intimidation and bullying by this Norwegian Government-owned corporation will alter the fact that salmon farming kills sea lions, spreads infectious diseases and even results in the death of their own workers."  

3 pack cancer global weeping sore

 

Counsel for Mr. Staniford, David Sutherland, said (16 October) that he does not want to argue the appeal in the public media.  "The issues of fact and law are well laid-out by the trial judge in her careful reasons, which have not been accurately characterized since the decision by the salmon farming industry," said Sutherland.  "Generally, freedom of speech is most important in contexts where people strongly disagree.  There must be scope for expression of opinion, apparently based on fact that can be proved, as here, no matter how "exaggerated and obstinate" the opinion may be."   

David Sutherland


According to Mainstream Canada's press statement (15 October): "Mainstream believes this decision, if left to stand without an appeal, has the potential to compromise healthy public debate on matters of public policy. While such debate should be encouraged, it should be based on fact, and critics should be held accountable for their public commentary."

Mainstream's lawyer David Wotherspoon said: "We are pleased that the judge acknowledged the good work by Mainstream and that she found that the activist's comments were defamatory. While it is disappointing that she ruled against us on a technical legal issue, we will pursue this vigorously in the court of appeal."

SLAPP suit
 

"Justice has been served as Cermaq has been slapped right back in the face," said Staniford in an interview with The Westerly News (4 October) following the lawsuit victory. 

"We need to think about that in company with the fabulous work of Joel Bakan about whether corporations are essentialy mentally ill," said Staniford's lawyer David Sutherland following the trial in February 2012. "They are driven by profit, but they qualify for the elements of mental illness."

Sutherland and Staniford outside court
Read more via "Media lawyer for Don Staniford calls for changes in the way corporations can sue for loss of reputation"

 

More background via media coverage:

"" (Gorilla Radio, 17 October)

Norsk oppdrettsgigant tar lakseaktivist til retten igjen” (Aftenposten, 16 October)
 
Don Staniford’s response to Cermaq’s appeal” (You Tube, 16 October)

Activist sticks to his guns in face of court appeal” (The Courier-Islander, 16 October)

B.C. salmon farming company appeals judge's ruling in defamation case” (The Canadian Press/Ottawa Citizen, 16 October)
 
Cermaq Dig Deeper Hole by Appealing Lawsuit Loss” (Green Around the Gills, 16 October)

Mainstream Canada appeal Staniford ruling” (The Westerly News, 16 October)

Mainstream Canada appeals defamation decision – initial ruling against Mainstream hung on a ‘technical issue’, lawyer  says” (Intrafish, 16 October)
 
Mainstream Canada appeals ruling” (World Fishing & Aquaculture, 16 October)
 
Mainstream against Staniford” (Norwegian Fish Farmer, 16 October)

Mainstream Canada appeals defamation ruling” (Mainstream Canada, 15 October)

B.C. salmon farm appeals defamation ruling” (The Canadian Press/Metro News, 15 October)

Rafe Mair's Landmark Free Speech Case Credited in Salmon Activist Staniford's Victory” (Common Sense Canadian, 12 October)
 
Lessons from a fish farm defamation lawsuit” (West Coast Environmental Law, 12 October)

Salmon farm activist acquitted of defamation” (The Daily News, 4 October)
 
Mainstream defamation suit dismissed by BC Supreme Court” (The Westerly News, 4 October)

The Case of a Corporate Moron: How Cermaq Abused the Canadian Courts” (Wild Salmon First, 3 October)

Defendant odious, but still wins suit” (Times Colonist, 3 October)

Salmon activist wins defamation case” (Fish & Fly, 3 October)

Seier for Staniford/Victory for Staniford” (NJFF, 2 October)

Staniford vant over Cermaq” (Norwegian Fish Farmer, 1 October)

Stor seier for Don Staniford!/Great victory for Don Staniford!” (Green Warriors of Norway, 30 September)

Score one for the enviros” (The Vancouver Observer, 29 September)

Aktivist vant mot norsk oppdrettsgigant/Activist Wins Against Norwegian Salmon Farming Giant” (NRK, 29 September)

Salmon-farming activist wins in court” (The Canadian Press, 29 September)
 
Court dismisses salmon farming defamation suit” (Times Colonist, 29 September)
 
Activist wins defamation case launched by salmon-farming company” (The Canadian Press/Calgary Herald/Windsor Star/Ottawa Citizen/Montreal Gazette/Metro News/The Province, 29 September)
 
B.C. Supreme Court upholds right of anti-salmon farm activist to make defamatory remarks/ “Court upholds salmon farm foe's right to make defamatory remarks” (The Vancouver Sun/Times Colonist, 29 September)
 

Here's the summary Judgment:

Judgment summary
 

Read Judgment in full online here

Read more via "Judgment Day in Salmon Farming Kills Lawsuit"

Cermaq photo #4
If Cermaq’s lawsuit and injunction are successful, over fifty statements will be deemed illegal and “any person”, “servants” or “agents” will be ordered to remove the ‘Defamatory Words’ from the internet:

Cermaq photo #5

Read more background via “Norway’s Injunction Kills Free Speech!” and “Gagging the Truth Becomes Mainstream

Read Cermaq's 'Amended Notice of Civil Claim' -  online here


“If successful, the injunction would outlaw bumper stickers like ‘Friends Don’t Let Friends Eat Farmed Salmon’ and 'Wild Salmon Don't Do Drugs' and truthful statements corroborated by peer-reviewed science such as ‘Salmon Farming Spreads Disease’ and ‘Salmon Farming Kills Wild Baby Salmon’,” said Don Staniford following the 20-day trial in February.  “It’s a sad but simple fact that Norwegian-owned salmon farming kills all over the globe: whether it is the killing of sea lions in British Columbia; the deaths of workers in Chile; the slaughter of seals in Scotland or the devastation of wild salmon at home in Norway.” 

Cermaq photo #1

“Norway now rivals China in its abuse of freedom of speech and the Draconian measures sought to suppress dissent,” continued Staniford.  “The Norwegian Government, via their state ownership of Cermaq, is abusing the Canadian courts to muzzle global criticism of Norwegian-owned salmon farming. Norway’s reputation as a champion of free speech now lies in the gutter along with the Nobel Peace Prize it awarded in 2010 to the Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.  Shame on Norway, shame on Cermaq!”

 

Watch Norway’s TV2 reporting on the lawsuit – online here and online here

TV2 on stickers

 

Speaking after the end of the 20-day trial, David Sutherland (legal counsel for Don Staniford) said:

“We need to create a separate cause of action, which does not have the adverse presumptions of defamation that protect the reputations of individual people but forces the corporation to, in fact, prove the sorts of damages and other criteria that are involved in the court of injurious falsehood.”

Watch via The Straight's: 'Media lawyer for Don Staniford calls for changes in the way corporations can sue for loss of reputation'

 

On the first day of the trial (16 January 2012), a police officer and officer from the Canadian Border Services Agency visited the court to inform Mr. Staniford he would be deported.  Following the trial, Mr. Staniford was deported from Canada and moved immediately to Norway to “slay the dragon in its own lair”.  

“Staniford began his journey back to Europe in the same over-the-top theatrical style that inflamed his targets: He arrived at Vancouver International Airport clad in an orange Guantanamo Bay-like jump suit and fake, rubber chains,” reported Global TV (5 March).

“The Canadian government chose to intimidate me on day one of my court case by turning up at the courtroom in a very public and calculated display of police force, yet, when deporting me, they were embarrassed by the orange jumpsuit and chose to whisk me out of public sight,” said Staniford in an interview with The Times Colonist (1 March). 

Cermaq photo #3
Read more via “Don Staniford: Salmon Farming Critic Removed from Canada” and “Bad Boy Salmon Activists Teaming Up in Norway

Read more background via “Norway’s Injunction Kills Free Speech!” and “Gagging the Truth Becomes Mainstream
==========================================================================================

Background:

On 16th January the Norwegian Government-owned multinational Cermaq (Mainstream) clashes with Don Staniford of the Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture (GAAIA) in the Supreme Court of British Columbia.  The defamation trial is scheduled for 20 days (until 10th February). 

Please donate to fund the fight for justice for wild salmon and free speech.  Details online here
 

On Saturday 21 January, Norwegian TV broadcast a prime-time feature on the 'Salmon Farming Kills' lawsuit on the TV2 network. 

The news report features footage outside the courts, an interview with Don Staniford's lawyer David Sutherland, Cermaq's lawyer David Wotherspoon and the Canadian Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield. 

To view click here (and then click on the orange play icon - and wait for the advert to play: you may get an advert for farmed salmon or one warning of the dangers of smoking and cancer!). 

See more details via the web-page 'Salmon Farming Kills'

The Province (8th January) reported:

"Staniford said the lawsuit could be a watershed moment for B.C.’s beleaguered wild salmon stocks.  “People have to ask the question: Do you want wild salmon, the icon for British Columbia, or do you want farmed Atlantic salmon, controlled by a foreign corporation?”

Read more details via:
"Giant Norwegian fish farm company sues B.C.-based activist for defamation/Anti-fish farm activist faces defamation lawsuit"

The Canadian Press reported (8th January 2011):

"Staniford remains defiant, standing behind his statements and his objective of shutting down the B.C. industry.  If he loses the court action, he said the company will find collecting the damages "like getting blood out of a stone." "I am going to fight until the bitter end and win," he added."

More details via: "Fierce fish farm opponent remains defiant in the face of B.C. defamation case"

"Mainstream Canada's lawyer David Wotherspoon alleges Staniford disseminated and published defamatory and false statements about the company under three titles: "The Salmon Farming Kills Campaign", the "Silent Spring of the Sea," and "Smoke on the Water, Cancer on the Coast."......These statements that Staniford has used are styled after those kind of health warnings as though the salmon farming industry and farmed salmon is so dangerous that they require a health warning and is going to make people sick ... That's what this case is about," Wotherspoon said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

"The Norwegian Government is abusing the Canadian legal system to muzzle global criticism of the Norwegian-owned salmon farming industry," says Don Staniford.  "Cermaq is arguing against the fact that salmon farming kills around the world and spreads infectious diseases such as Infectious Salmon Anaemia.  Please support the global fight against industrial aquaculture by donating to the cause."

Read Cermaq's legal arguments against 'Salmon Farming Kills' and over 50 statements they deem to be defamatory - online via '‘Amended Notice of Civil Claim

Watch Don explain more about the lawsuit online via:  'Activist Don Staniford on facing lawsuits'

And online via: 'Don Staniford Sued By Norwegian Fish Farm Company Cermaq for Defamation'

Please find enclosed three press releases from the Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture:

"Cermaq CEO Deserts a Sinking Ship?" (22nd July)

"Cermaq Challenged to Come Clean in Chile and Canada: Non-Disclosure on Diseases Misleads Shareholders and Investors" (20th July)

"Cermaq in the Dock in Canada: CEO Geir Isaksen challenged to testify in Supreme Court of British Columbia" (1st July 2011)


And also read in The New York Times:

"About That Salmon" (1st August)

"Norwegians Concede a Role in Chilean Salmon Virus" (28th July)

Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture, 22nd July 2011
 
Cermaq CEO Deserts a Sinking Ship?
 
Tofino, Canada– Cermaq’s CEO Geir Isaksen has been formally requested to come to Canada for questioning as part of Cermaq’s ‘Salmon Farming Kills’ lawsuit against the Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture (GAAIA).  In a letter sent yesterday to Cermaq’s lawyers in Canada, Mr. Isaksen has been identified as the Plaintiff’s representative for ‘Examination for Discovery’ and in another letter he has been asked to preserve key documents relating to the lawsuit [1].  The next stage in the lawsuit is ‘Examination for Discovery’ which was previously scheduled for September but may now take place earlier due to Cermaq’s CEO resigning nine-weeks earlier than planned.    
 
Cermaq’s CEO announced his surprise resignation on 14th June but Cermaq stated in a press release that: “Mr. Geir Isaksen will continue as CEO of Cermaq until 30 September 2011”.  Yesterday, however, Cermaq announced that Geir Isaksen would now be leaving on Monday (25th July) and only available to the company until the end of August.  Cermaq reported that: “The Board has appointed CFO Tore Valderhaug as Acting CEO of Cermaq ASA effective from 25th July until a new CEO is in place.  Geir Isaksen will be available for the company until end of August 2011, and in period contribute to a successful transition to the acting CEO.  He will take up his new position as CEO of NSB as of September 1st 2011.”
 
“Why is Cermaq’s CEO Geir Isaksen leaving so suddenly after 15 years at the helm?” said Don Staniford, global coordinator for GAAIA.  “GAAIA is concerned that Cermaq’s CEO is deserting a sinking ship before he is forced to testify and provide damning documentation on how salmon farming spreads diseases such as Infectious Salmon Anaemia.  His departure from Cermaq (Norway’s state-owned salmon farming company) to NSB (Norway’s state-owned railway company) is like leaping off the Titanic onto a runaway train.   GAAIA has written to Cermaq’s lawyers asking the CEO not to destroy vital evidence before he clears his desk and his train leaves the station.”   
 
Earlier this week, GAAIA wrote to Cermaq’s Board of Directors and the Norwegian Government’s Ministry of Trade and Industry and Department of Ownership (as the largest shareholders in Cermaq) urging the company to publish disease information in Cermaq’s Q2 2011 report.   GAAIA also wrote to the Oslo Børs, the Chilean Government and the Canadian Government alerting them to the non-disclosure of financially significant disease data. 
 
GAAIA made public for the first time a letter from Cermaq’s lawyers in Canada to the Office of the Information & Privacy Commissioner claiming that the release of disease information in British Columbia would result in “undue financial loss” and “damage business” [2].  Submissions in May this year to the Cohen Commission by the BC Salmon Farmers Association (BCSFA) – whose members include Cermaq – also claim “irrevocable” and “irreparable damage to the reputations and economic interests of the BCSFA’s member companies and their shareholders” if disease data is disclosed publicly.  Notwithstanding Cermaq’s concerns, disease data will be released publicly via the Cohen Inquiry in Canada next month (starting 22nd August).  If the BCSFA is to be believed the public can expect a “media circus” and the explosive revelations will cause “reputational and economic damage[3].
 
In March, Cermaq filed a ‘Notice of Civil Claim’ against GAAIA in the Supreme Court of British Columbia which claimed that statements such as “Salmon farming spreads disease” and “Salmon farming spreads salmon AIDS (ISA)” were defamatory.  Earlier this month, the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet reported on GAAIA’s call for Cermaq’s CEO Geir Isaksen to come to Canada in September to testify as part of the lawsuit [4].  Last week (15th July), Cermaq filed an ‘Amended Notice of Civil Claim’.  The 20-day trial is scheduled to start in Vancouver on 16th January 2012. 
 
Further details on the ongoing lawsuit between GAAIA and Cermaq are available online via “Cermaq in the Dock in Canada” and the video report: “Don Staniford Sued by Norwegian Fish Farm Company 'Cermaq' for defamation”.  
 
Contact:
 
Don Staniford (Global coordinator for GAAIA): dstaniford@gaaia.org (email to set up a phone call) 
 
Notes to Editors:
 
[1]  Read the letters here and here.  The documents which have been requested to be preserved  include:  
 
1) All documents relating to mortalities of farmed salmon
2) All documents relating to mortalities of workers
3) All documents relating to mortalities of wild fish for feed
4) All documents relating to mortalities of marine mammals and other wildlife
5) All documents relating to mortalities of wild salmon and sea trout
6) All documents relating to the spread of diseases and parasites
7) All documents relating to the use of chemicals (including medicines, antibiotics, pesticides, artificial colourings, dyes, anti-foulants, disinfectants etc)
8) All documents relating to cancer-causing contaminants (e.g. dioxins and PCBs) in farmed salmon and feed
9) All documents relating to deaths of lobsters and other shellfish
10) All documents relating to fines, prosecutions, breaches of licences, legal cases and other offences
 
In March, Cermaq wrote to GAAIA requesting the preservation of documents (read the letter here).  At a case planning conference in June 29 between lawyers representing GAAIA and Mainstream Canada (a division of EWOS Canada and a subsidiary of the Norwegian-owned multinational Cermaq), it was agreed that GAAIA had until August 15 to inform the Plaintiff of the representative they wish to examine and that ‘Examination for Discovery’ would take place during September (read online here).   
 
[2]  The letter dated April 2008 – in response to a Freedom of Information Request from the T Buck Suzuki Foundation and Ecojustice – stated that: “If the Applicant and groups like it are in possession of information that would suggest or confirm the presence of pathogens and/or sea lice in any quantity, and particularly in significant quantities, it is clear that they would use this information to damage Mainstream’s business. The public would not be interested in buying fish that they are told are infected with pathogens or were raised in an environment conducive to the presence of pathogens and/or sea lice or contain carcinogenic material.  It is axiomatic that Mainstream‟s business would suffer as a result.”  Read the letter in full here
 
[3] Read the submissions by the BC Salmon Farmers Association to the Cohen Inquiry arguing against the disclosure of disease information:
 
- Letter dated 6th May 2011
- Letter dated 19th May 2011
- Letter dated 30th May 2011
 
Read the Cohen Commission’sRuling on Undertakings of Confidentiality’ (23rd June 2011).
 
[4]   A press release - "Cermaq in the Dock in Canada:  CEO Geir Isaksen challenged to testify in Supreme Court of British Columbia" – issued by GAAIA on 1st July included. 
 
“GAAIA will be calling on Cermaq’s CEO to bear witness to how Norwegian-owned salmon farming spreads disease,” said Don Staniford, Global Coordinator for GAAIA. “GeirIsaksenstands in a unique position to shed light on the global spread of Infectious Salmon Anaemia (ISA) and on the vertical transmission via infected eggs from Norway to Chile – and potentially to British Columbia. How on earth can Cermaq seriously argue against the case that ‘Salmon Farming Spreads Disease’when their own scientific researchvindicates the fact that ISA was spread to Chile from Norway?” 
 
Dagbladet (1st July) quoted Cermaq's vice president Lise Bergan: “Whether Isaksen will testify, we cannot decide now. Dette må vi se nærmere på, sier Lise Bergan, informasjondirektør i Cermaq, til Dagbladet. We need to look at it.”  The influential trade newspaper Intrafish also published an article: “Vil stille Cermaq-Isaksen for kanadisk rett” (1st July).  An article - "CERMAQ CEO Geir Isaksen is “the logical person to interrogate – Don Staniford” – published bySeafood Intelligenceon 4th July" reported that:
 
"SeafoodIntelligence asked Mr Don Staniford - following his July 1st statement that he intended to call on the Cermaq CEO to testify in the ongoing legal case brought against him and the GAAIA of which he is the coordinator by Mainstream Canada, for alleged defamatory statements – ‘why and how’ he was calling on Mr Isaksen (departing CEO of the parent company Cermaq in Norway):
 
See for background & previous coverage links:Mainstream Canada vs. Don Staniford/GAAIA : GAAIA, Don Staniford, call on Cermaq CEO to testify in Supreme Court of British Columbia (01.07.2011).
 
Mr Staniford told SeafoodIntelligence in an email reply that “as the head of the company suing me [Mr Isaksen] is in a unique position to give evidence on the global spread of infectious diseases such as ISA, the deaths of workers in Chile and marine mammals in Canada for example.”
 
He added that as stipulated by the Case Plan, he can inform Cermaq who he wants to examine for discovery. “Since Geir Isaksen is the head of the company and oversees Mainstream Canada as well as operations in Norway, Scotland and Chile, he is the logical person to interrogate.”
 
Furthermore, as the case plan demands that 'Examination for Discovery' takes place in the month of September, Mr Staniford continued: “Since Mr Isaksen leaves as CEO of Cermaq on 30th September, it will therefore not be a problem.”
 
An article – “Cermaq exec may be called to testify” – published in Responsible Aquaculture on 5th July also publicized this issue. 

Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture, 20th July 2011
 
Cermaq Challenged to Come Clean in Chile and Canada
- Non-Disclosure on Diseases Misleads Shareholders and Investors
 
Tofino, British Columbia:  The Norwegian Government-owned company Cermaq was today challenged to disclose damning disease information to shareholders, investors and the Oslo Børs(stock exchange).  The Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture (GAAIA) wrote to Cermaq’s Board of Directors and the Norwegian Government’s Ministry of Trade and Industry and Department of Ownership (as the largest shareholders in Cermaq) urging the company to publish disease information in Cermaq’s Q2 2011 report and presentation tomorrow.   GAAIA also wrote to the Oslo Børs, the Chilean Government and the Canadian Government alerting them to the non-disclosure of financially significant disease data [1].    
 
GAAIA made public for the first time a letter from Cermaq’s lawyers in Canada to the Office of the Information & Privacy Commissioner claiming that the release of disease information in British Columbia would result in “undue financial loss” and “damage business” [2].  Submissions in May this year to the Cohen Commission by the BC Salmon Farmers Association (BCSFA) – whose members include Cermaq – also claim “irrevocable” and “irreparable damage to the reputations and economic interests of the BCSFA’s member companies and their shareholders” if disease data is disclosed publicly.  Notwithstanding Cermaq’s concerns, disease data will be released publicly via the Cohen Inquiry in Canada next month (starting 22nd August).  If the BCSFA is to be believed the public can expect a “media circus” and the explosive revelations will cause “reputational and economic damage[3].
 
“Cermaq and the Norwegian Government (as owners of Cermaq) are sitting on a disease timebomb,” said Don Staniford, global coordinator of GAAIA.  “Before CEO Geir Isaksen deserts the sinking ship in September, Cermaq must show global leadership and come clean on infectious diseases and the consequences of vertical transmission of Infectious Salmon Anaemia (ISA) from Norway.  The financial fallout and potentially damaging lawsuits arising from the ISA crisis in Chile and disease problems in Canada demands full disclosure from both Cermaq and the Norwegian Government’s Ministry of Trade and Industry.”
 
Earlier this month, the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet referred to the “sensational” report and “spicy” revelations of a scientific paper funded by Cermaq and co-authored by Cermaq employee Dr. Siri Vike.  The paper - “ISA virus in Chile: evidence of vertical transmission”– concluded that ISA was spread to Chile from Norway via infected eggs from Norwegian broodstock company Aqua Gen (whose shareholders include Cermaq and Marine Harvest). 
 
The financial implications of this scientific research are significant since Chile lost an estimated $2 billion due to the ISA crisis.  In July 2009, Intrafish reported that a ‘criminal lawsuit’ was filed seeking to discover how the ISA virus was transmitted to Chile (details via: “Lawsuit asks: who’s the blame for Chile’s ISA?”).  Fisheries Information Service also reported in an article - “Justice in the wake of ISA” – in July 2009 that: “The Environmental Crimes Brigade (BRIDEMA) of the Police Investigations Unit is investigating the origin and spread of ISA”. 
 
Why a scientific paper first published online in late 2008 is still making headlines in 2011 is an interesting story.   In June 2008, prior to the publication of the offending paper, the Chilean newspaper La Nacion reported on “El gran secreto del salmon” (The Big Secret of Salmon) and in July 2008 NRKin Norway asked: “Sjuk Norsk Rogn til Chile?” (‘Sick Norwegian Eggs to Chile?’).  In January 2009, as soon as the scientific paper was officially published, Aqua Gen filed a complaint with Norway’s ‘National Commission for the Investigation of Scientific Misconduct’ in a failed attempt to cast doubt on the accuracy of the research.  It was only in April this year that the commission ruled unanimously that the paper was sound science and in the process named Aqua Gen as the company responsible.  If Aqua Gen had not filed a complaint then their name would not have been publicly known. 
 
The Norwegian Government is severely compromised since it is the largest shareholder in Cermaq and Cermaq funded the scientific research showing ISA spread to Chile from Norway by Aqua Gen.  Cermaq is also a shareholder in Aqua Gen and is represented on the board of directors.  The situation is further complicated by the fact that Norwegian-owned Marine Harvest was identified as ‘ground zero’ - the first company infected with ISA in Chile with the disease spreading to other companies.  Cermaq and Marine Harvest (who are also shareholders in Aqua Gen and have a seat on the board) both suffered huge financial losses due to ISA – Marine Harvest reported losses of Euro 1.4 billion and Cermaq reported losses of NOK 332 million
 
Following the ruling in April by Norway’s ‘National Commission for the Investigation of Scientific Misconduct’, Cermaq publicly supported the science showing the spread of ISA from Norway to Chile by Aqua Gen.  Significantly, a presentation on ‘Preventative Fish Health Work’ by Cermaq’s Dr. Siri Vike in April endorsed the scientific paper “ISA virus in Chile: evidence of vertical transmission” publicly for the first time and was posted in May on Cermaq’s web-site under ‘Sustainability in Cermaq’. 
 
Privately, however, Cermaq expressed serious concerns about this “very sensitive” issue.  In minutes of a ‘Cermaq Corporate Team’ meeting in April (a week after the ruling exonerating Cermaq scientist Dr. Siri Vike and her research on the vertical transmission of ISA), Cermaq reported that:
 
“Staniford has been twittering about Siri Vike and the article on the ISA virus and how it originated from Norway.  After a lengthy process with complaints that the research was not ethically valid, the result was out last week, and deemed not unethical.  As this is very sensitive in BC we have to be careful what is commented upon in public in the time to come. We should avoid speculations about the situation in BC.  Siri’s presentation will be in English and sent to Mainstream Canada.  An important message from us should be that we are proud of this research, we initiated and financed it because we want to build knowledge and seek improvement.  We take measures based upon knowledge”.
 
These private minutes were “accidentally posted online” by Cermaq in June/July – “Oooobs” (“Oops”) reported the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet (6th July).  Since the minutes were already publicly available online, Cermaq were forced to publish them in their July newsletter which explained: “The real ISA 'situation in BC' for Mainstream Canada”.  Cermaq reported that: “We are proud of research we recently funded and initiated which gives us new insight into the ISA virus. This research showed it is possible that ISA could have been transported from Norway to Chile through salmon eggs.” 
 
Cermaq claimed: “There is no ISA present in our broodstock..... If there were signs of exotic diseases such as ISA we would notice.  Because ISA could have such a huge negative impact on our fish and business, we take many steps to monitor for its presence.”  Last month at a public meeting in Tofino, Cermaq’s Communications and Corporate Sustainability Manager in Canada, Laurie Jensen, also claimed that “ISA is an East coast disease, not a West coast disease” and that symptoms of ISA are not in British Columbia.  Cermaq’s denials contradict an article in The Globe & Mail in May which reported that (in data submitted to the Cohen Inquiry): “There are approximately 35 indications of the existence of ISA identified in these records to date”. 
 
ISA continues to ravage both Norway and Chile.  Aqua Gen reported ISA in a broodfish population in August 2008 at a farm operated by Marine Harvest in Norway – a site described as “one of the external multipliers in the Aqua Gen system”.  In June this year asuspected case of ISA was reported at a Cermaq-owned salmon farm in the Alta region of Norway.   Earlier this month, suspected cases of ISA in Chile were reported by the Chilean Government as 20 (up from 14 in June) with Cermaq responsible for two cases. 
 
The implications for Canada - who refused to ban the import of eggs allowing over 1 million potentially ISA-infected eggs into B.C. since the scientific paper on vertical transmission was published – are also significant.  In January 2009, a letter to the Canadian Fisheries Minister signed by David Suzuki, Chief Bob Chamberlin, Alexandra Morton and other concerned citizens respectfully requested “that B.C. immediately prohibit the importation of live farm salmon material (all species) (broodstock, milt and eggs) to protect BC from the spread of Infectious Salmon Anemia”. 
 
However, the Canadian Fisheries Minister wrote in reply in March 2009 that: “With respect to ISAV, there is no strong evidence that ISAV is transmitted from adult to young via reproductive products and there is no evidence for ISAV occurring in eggs” [4].  In June 2009, Professor Are Nylund – co-author of “ISA virus in Chile: evidence of vertical transmission” - stated that:  “based on 20 years of experience, I can guarantee that if British Columbia continues to import salmon eggs from the eastern Atlantic infectious salmon diseases, such as ISA, will arrive in Western Canada”.  
 
In a letter in April this year to the then Canadian Fisheries Minster Gail Shea, Alexandra Morton wrote: “You have chosen to ignore a scientific paper from Norway suggesting the ISA virus travelled in Atlantic salmon eggs to contaminate the coast of Chile”.  In another letter in July to the new Canadian Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield, Alexandra Morton, asked: “What ‘situation’ is Cermaq talking about hiding from the BC public in the same paragraph as they worry about someone tweeting about ISA coming from Norway?”
 
The lack of access to disease information in Chile and Canada contrasts with Scotland. 
A disease dossier published in March by the Salmon & Trout Association revealed “alarming results” of Government inspections of salmon farms including those operated by Cermaq.  Fish Health inspectorate reports from 2009 and 2010 (obtained from the Scottish Government via Freedom of Information requests) showed that Mainstream Scotland (Cermaq) exceeded threshold levels for sea lice infestation; used the toxic chemicals Emamectin benzoate (SLICE) and Azamethiphos (Salmosan); suffered ‘high morts’ (mortalities); culled farmed salmon due to sea lice problems; failed to comply with the Code of Good Practice and suffered thousands of mortalities due to Pancreas Disease.    
 
“GAAIA is asking that Cermaq adopt a transparent approach to the disclosure of disease information,” said Don Staniford, global coordinator of GAAIA.  “Cermaq’s recent partnership with ‘Tranparency International’ and stated ‘zero tolerance for corruption’ augurs well for the publication of disease information.  Tomorrow’s Q2 2011 presentation represents a perfect opportunity for Cermaq’s CEO Geir Isaksen to come clean.  GAAIA will also be calling Cermaq’s CEO to come to Canada for ‘Examination for Discovery’ as part of the ongoing ‘Salmon Farming Kills’ lawsuit.”

In March, Cermaq filed a ‘Notice of Civil Claim’ against GAAIA in the Supreme Court of British Columbia which claimed that statements such as “Salmon farming spreads disease” and “Salmon farming spreads salmon AIDS (ISA)” were defamatory.  Earlier this month, the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet reported on GAAIA’s call for Cermaq’s CEO Geir Isaksen to come to Canada in September to testify as part of the lawsuit.  Last week (15th July), Cermaq filed an ‘Amended Notice of Civil Claim’.  The 20-day trial is scheduled to start in Vancouver on 16th January 2012. 

Further details on the ongoing lawsuit between GAAIA and Cermaq are available online via “Cermaq in the Dock in Canada” and the video report: “Don Staniford Sued by Norwegian Fish Farm Company 'Cermaq' for defamation”.  
 
Contact:
 
Don Staniford (Global coordinator for GAAIA): dstaniford@gaaia.org (email to set up a phone call) 
 
Notes to Editors:
 
[1]  Letters available on request (email dstaniford@gaaia.org). 
 
[2]  The letter dated April 2008 – in response to a Freedom of Information Request from the T Buck Suzuki Foundation and Ecojustice – stated that: “If the Applicant and groups like it are in possession of information that would suggest or confirm the presence of pathogens and/or sea lice in any quantity, and particularly in significant quantities, it is clear that they would use this information to damage Mainstream’s business. The public would not be interested in buying fish that they are told are infected with pathogens or were raised in an environment conducive to the presence of pathogens and/or sea lice or contain carcinogenic material.  It is axiomatic that Mainstream‟s business would suffer as a result.”  Read the letter in full here
 
[3] Read the submissions by the BC Salmon Farmers Association to the Cohen Inquiry arguing against the disclosure of disease information:
 
- Letter dated 6thMay 2011
- Letter dated 19thMay 2011
- Letter dated 30thMay 2011
 
Read the Cohen Commission’sRuling on Undertakings of Confidentiality’ (23rd June 2011). 
 
[4]  Letter available on request (email dstaniford@gaaia.org)

Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture, 1st July 2011

Cermaq in the Dock in Canada
- CEO Geir Isaksen challenged to testify in Supreme Court of British Columbia

Tofino, B.C. – Cermaq’s CEO Geir Isaksen was today challenged to testify in the ongoing ‘Salmon Farming Kills’ lawsuit Vs. the Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture (GAAIA) and Don Staniford [1].  According to legal papers filed yesterday in the Supreme Court of British Columbia, ‘Examinations for Discovery’ will take place during September and the expected 20-day trial is scheduled to start in Vancouver on January 16 lasting until February 10, 2012. 

At a case planning conference on Wednesday (June 29) between lawyers representing GAAIA and Mainstream Canada (a division of EWOS Canada and a subsidiary of the Norwegian-owned multinational Cermaq), it was agreed that Mainstream Canada shall file any amended Notice of Civil Claim on or before July 18 and that GAAIA has until August 15 to inform the Plaintiff of the representative they wish to examine (read online here).

“GAAIA will be calling on Cermaq’s CEO to bear witness to how Norwegian-owned salmon farming spreads disease,” said Don Staniford, Global Coordinator for GAAIA.  “Geir Isaksen stands in a unique position to shed light on the global spread of Infectious Salmon Anaemia (ISA) and on the vertical transmission via infected eggs from Norway to Chile – and potentially to British Columbia.  How on earth can Cermaq seriously argue against the case that ‘Salmon Farming Spreads Disease’ when their own scientific research vindicates the fact that ISA was spread to Chile from Norway?”

In June, Geir Isaksen announced his surprise resignation as CEO of Cermaq but will continue until the end of September.  In May, GAAIA wrote to the Cermaq Board of Directors, the King of Norway and Prime Minister of Norway demanding a “change of leadership at the helm of Cermaq” due to non-disclosure of disease data and a potential breach of reporting requirements to the Oslo Børs (stock exchange) [2].  A shareholder resolution was also filed at Cermaq’s AGM in Oslo in May calling for a CEO succession plan.  Last year, the Pure Salmon Campaign called for the resignation of Cermaq’s CEO Geir Isaksen and Don Staniford delivered a letter to Cermaq’s head office in Canada (watch the video: “Wild Salmon Advocates Call for Cermaq Chief’s Resignation”.              

“GAAIA’s ‘Salmon Farming Kills’ campaign goes way beyond the borders of Mainstream Canada,” said Don Staniford, Global Coordinator for GAAIA.  “Why a Norwegian Government-owned company such as Cermaq have chosen to fight this case in British Columbia and abuse the Canadian courts is a mystery.  The fact is that Norwegian-owned companies in Chile, Scotland, Norway and Canada are guilty of spreading infectious diseases and killing sea lions, seals, salmon, wild fish and, sadly, even their own workers.  Salmon farming kills around the world and should carry a global health warning.  Quit salmon farming now for the sake of the health of our global ocean, the health of wild fish and our children’s future.”

GAAIA launched the “Salmon Farming Kills” campaign in January at the Seafood Summit in Vancouver.  In February, the BC Salmon Farmers Association (BCSFA) dismissed the campaign as “immature, inappropriate and irrelevant”.  In March, legal counsel to Cermaq wrote to GAAIA demanding a retraction, full apology and punitive damages claiming that “Salmon farming spreads disease” and other statements were defamatory.  In response, Mr Staniford wrote a letter to Cermaq’s head office in Norway copied to the Norwegian Government and the Ministry of Trade and Industry (the largest shareholder in Cermaq) asking “that Cermaq apologizes on behalf of the Norwegian people and the Norwegian Government for killing wild salmon and spreading infectious diseases around the world”. 

In March, Mainstream Canada filed a ‘Notice of Civil Claim’ in the Supreme Court of British Columbia which claimed that statements such as “Salmon farming spreads salmon AIDS (ISA)” and “Salmon farming – harming wildlife and spreading diseases” were defamatory.   Cermaq claimed that such “defamatory actions” represented “a direct attack on Mainstream Canada’s and parent company Cermaq’s reputations as responsible company engaged in sustainable aquaculture”.   [On 15th July 2011, Cermaq filed an 'Amended Notice of Civil Claim']. 

GAAIA responded by challenging Cermaq to “Bring it On!” and stated in March: “Cermaq and the Norwegian Government: see you in court”.   The lawsuit attracted media attention in Norway via Dagbladet, Dagens Naringsliv and Reuters; in Canada via The Times Colonist, The Straight, Business in Vancouver,  and The Globe & Mail; and via the international trade press.

In April, Cermaq gave a presentation acknowledging publicly that ISA was spread to Chile from Norway via vertical transmission of infected eggs.  The Norwegian company involved was identified as Aquagen – a company part-owned by Cermaq and Marine Harvest.  In May, GAAIA filed a ‘Response to Civil Claim’ defending the ‘Salmon Farming Kills’ campaign and providing the ‘Defendants’ Response to Facts’ and ‘Additional Facts’.  GAAIA wrote to Cermaq CEO Geir Isaksen and Cermaq’s Board of Directors challenging Cermaq to report more publicly on the disease risks in Chile and Canada.  Cermaq wrote back stating that: “We notice that you would like to see in particular the spread of ISA to Chile and the risks of ISA and Salmon Leukemia in British Columbia included in our future reporting” [3].  On July21, Cermaq will publish their Q2 2011 financial results.  

In August, the ‘Cohen Inquiry’ will tackle the issue of infectious diseases and salmon farming in British Columbia.  According to the BCSFA – a trade body which includes the Norwegian-owned companies Cermaq, Marine Harvest and Grieg - the public can expect a “media circus” and the explosive revelations will cause irreparable and irrevocable “reputational and economic damage”.  

In May, The Globe & Mail reported that “there are approximately 35 indications of the existence of ISA identified in these records to date”.   This week, The Tyee asked: “Is a Virus Ravaging BC's Sockeye?”and the Pacific Free Press asked “Is Infectious Salmon Anaemia (ISA) lurking on salmon farms in British Columbia?”.   The Globe & Mail also reported that: “information showing provincial inspectors found signs of a disease, infectious salmon anemia, or ISA, had been detected in British Columbia”. 

Contact:

Don Staniford: dstaniford@gaaia.org (Email to arrange a phone interview)

Notes to Editors:

[1]  Don Staniford is an award-winning campaigner and author.  He has campaigned on salmon farming issues since 1998 and has worked for Friends of the Earth Scotland, the Salmon Farm Protest Group, Friends of Clayoquot Sound, the Pure Salmon Campaign and now works for the Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture (GAAIA). 

In 2002, he won the Andrew Lees Memorial Award at the British Environment & Media Awards in London.   According to the judges, “he was a significant influence in persuading the Scottish Parliament to hold a formal inquiry into fish farming, has written a widely praised Friends of the Earth critique of fish farming in Scotland and uncovered proof that fish farm workers were being ordered to use illegal chemicals”. 

In 2005, he won the Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize at the BC Book Prizes for co-authoring the book “A Stain Upon the Sea: West Coast Salmon Farming” (read his chapter “Silent Spring of the Sea”).  

In 2009, following a four-year lawsuit Vs. Creative Salmon, Mr Staniford won on appeal in the Supreme Court of BC and then won again in the Supreme Court of Canada.  

[2] Read the letter to the Board of Directors of Cermaq dated 10th May online here

The letter includes:

“Cermaq are guilty of covering up scientific evidence – backed by Norway’s National Committee for the Investigation of Ethics in Research (Nasjonalt utvalg for gransking av redelighet i forskning) – proving a direct link between infected eggs from a Cermaq-owned company (AquaGen) in Norway and the spread of Infectious Salmon Anaemia (ISA) to Chile.  Furthermore, Cermaq is now covering up disease risks in British Columbia which could lead to significant financial losses for shareholders, investors and the company itself as well as untold ecological losses, impacts on wild Pacific salmon and communities which depend upon healthy wild salmon populations”.

[3] Email dated 18th May 2011 from Lise Bergan, Cermaq’s Corporate Affairs Director (Direct office #: +47 93 25 11 14; Mobile #: +47 23 68 50 30; Email: lise.bergan@cermaq.com)