Anti-salmon farming activist Don Staniford on his way to film fish in a pen at a Scottish Sea Farms site at Loch Spelve, Mull, which is one of the actions listed in the writ.

Scottish Sea Farms seeks interdict against activist claimed to ‘put lives at risk’

‘Keep off’ order wouldn’t remove Don Staniford’s right to peacefully protest, say company’s lawyers


An application by salmon producer Scottish Sea Farms for an interdict to keep anti-salmon farming activist Don Staniford away from its marine sites and property is expected to be heard by a sheriff in Oban today.

SSF is asking for an interim order preventing Staniford or his associates approaching within 15 metres of all property, and from flying drones over the sites and using underwater drones in the area of the sites.

A similar interdict has already been issued against Staniford in respect of Mowi Scotland’s facilities.

A writ submitted to the Sheriffdom of North Strathclyde at Oban by SSF’s lawyers, Shepherd and Wedderburn, lists a series of occasions since at least 2018 when Staniford has visited SSF fish farms “uninvited and without permission” to make videos for his social media outlets.

Risk to safety

SSF argues that Staniford’s incursions are unlawful, and that his conduct poses a risk to the safety and well-being of the company’s staff.

“The Defender (Staniford) claims that he behaves safely when attending at the Pursuer’s (SSF) Aquaculture Sites,” writes Shepherd and Wedderburn. “The Pursuer has no knowledge of what training, if any, that the Defender has undertaken in terms of the legislation and regulations that apply to the aquaculture industry.

“The presence of the Defender and his associates at the Pursuer’s Aquaculture Sites poses a risk to the health and safety of the Pursuer’s staff. The presence of the Defender and his associates at the Pursuer’s Aquaculture Sites poses a risk to their own health and safety.”

SSF’s lawyers also claim Staniford’s visits risk biosecurity at marine sites.

“The Defender has stated his intention to continue attending at the Pursuer’s Aquaculture Sites all year round,” states the writ.

“The Defender will not be interdicted from lawfully acting as an environmental activist. The terms of the interdict sought do not interfere with the responsible exercise of his right to peacefully and lawfully protest.”

'Left with no option'

In a statement, SSF’s head of health & safety Gerry McCormick said: “Unauthorised visits to our places of work, without understanding the strict health, safety, and biosecurity protocols in place, put lives at risk – that’s no overstatement.

“So, whilst we understand and respect an individual’s right to protest, we simply cannot stand by silently while someone puts their own life, and those of our team and fish stocks, in danger.

“Having tried repeatedly over recent years to convey the potential risks and dangers, but having had this advice ignored, we are left with no other option than to seek legal intervention in order to help keep everyone free from harm.”

Staniford is being represented by solicitor Jamie Whittle, a partner in Forres law firm R & R Urquhart and a referral solicitor for the Environmental Law Foundation, a charity which describes itself as “the voice of ordinary people and communities to be heard on matters affecting the environment in which they live”.

Read SSF's writ, sent to Fish Farming Expert by Staniford, here.