BC Salmon Farmers Challenge Activists

Supreme Court ruling prompts demand for apology
January 23, 2007

Salmon Farmers Challenge Activists

British Columbia’s salmon farmers are challenging anti-aquaculture organizations to demonstrate accountability, and to apologize for defamatory and malicious statements designed to frighten people away from eating farmed salmon.

The call comes following a Supreme Court decision just that found anti salmon farming campaigner Don Staniford intentionally used inflammatory words and withheld facts in an effort to damage the reputation of salmon farmers in British Columbia.

In today’s regulatory environment the actions of salmon farmers are measured, publicly reported and closely scrutinized.

“We applaud the Supreme Court decision and recognize that the ruling signals a move towards applying a similar set of accountability measures to critics” states Mary Ellen Walling executive director, BC Salmon Farmers Association.

“The Court has ruled that it is unlawful to deliberately mislead the public in the guise of public education,” notes Walling, “If activist groups are to retain any semblance of public trust they should, at a minimum, meet the same standards of scrutiny applied to others.”

The Supreme Court decision and the Salmon Farmers call for activist accountability comes at the same time as the anti-aquaculture group CAAR is promoting a new brochure: discounting the health benefits of eating farmed salmon and salmon farmers’ commitment to environmental sustainability.

“The notion that those of us who live and work in coastal communities would endorse an activity harmful to our environment is ridiculous,” says Gerry Furney, Mayor of Port McNeill.

”The facts are as coastal residents we are actively involved, on a daily basis, as guardians of our environment. The court ruling should be seen as a vindication of an industry which practices environmental sustainability, supports economic diversification and creates opportunities in coastal communities. I strongly believe that we can have both – a healthy environment for all fish populations and an economically viable aquaculture industry.

BC salmon farmers recognize the importance of protecting wild salmon and see salmon farming as a natural way to meet growing global demand for salmon without putting undue pressure on wild stocks. The BCSFA endorses the stringent regulatory environment in which we operate, and the on going supervision from all levels of government to ensure wild salmon are protected.

See: Court finds against anti-aquaculture campaigner, Don Staniford (01/16/2007)