Don Staniford, centre, with his legal team following an appeal hearing in Edinburgh in February. From left, solicitor Jamie Whittle, Emma McAllister, Lewis Taylor, John Campbell KC, advocate Simon Crabb, and retired lawyer Ewan Kennedy.

Anti-salmon farming activist loses court fight with Mowi

Staniford wins some ground but remains banned from visiting company’s 47 Scottish sites

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Anti-salmon farming activist Don Staniford has lost a bid to remove a court ban on him encroaching on to any property owned by Mowi Scotland.

Scotland’s Sheriff Appeal Court today announced its decision to refuse Staniford’s appeal against the ban imposed at Oban Sheriff Court in September last year.

But Staniford has won a partial victory following the appeal hearing in Edinburgh on February 1. During the hearing Mowi’s counsel, Jonathan Barne KC, said he would be prepared to accept the removal of three conditions of the interdict (the Scottish version of an injunction).

Mowi concessions

Barne said he would agree to the lifting of bans on Staniford approaching closer than 15 metres from a pen, and the removal of a clause forbidding the activist from “encouraging” people to take part in similar activity to his own.

He also conceded that a ban on flying drones over farms – which Staniford says he has never personally done – could be removed.

The judges hearing Staniford’s appeal - Sheriff Principal Derek Pyle, Sheriff Principal Nigel Ross, and Appeal Sheriff Thomas McCartney – have removed all three conditions in their decree which amends the Oban interdict.

But the panel has retained the ban on Staniford making unauthorised visits to Mowi’s farms and shore bases.

47 sites

The panel’s interlocuter (decree) forbids Staniford “from boarding, entering onto, physically occupying, attaching himself to, or attaching vessels to all structures, docks, walkways, buildings, floats or pens” of 47 Mowi seawater and freshwater sites, and “instructing, procuring or facilitating others to so act”.

The panel has not made a ruling on costs.

“Parties should attempt to agree these, failing which the clerk [of the court] will fix further procedure to deal with issues of expenses,” the panel wrote in a document summarising the evidence and explaining how it reached its decision.

Staniford told Fish Farming Expert: “I will be reviewing the judgment with my legal team - including any options for an appeal - and will respond in due course.”

Protecting staff

In a statement, Mowi Scotland said it was pleased that the appeal had been rejected. 

"The permanent interdict granted sees Mowi achieve its objectives of protecting the wellbeing of its staff, the safety of those working on its equipment, its property and its product from the illegal actions of the defendant," said Mowi.

Mowi Scotland chief operating officer Ben Hadfield said: “While our company will listen to and engage with people who may be critical of our business, we will not stand by and accept individuals harassing and intimidating our employees at their workplace. After repeated requests not to do so, we had sought this interdict to protect the safety and wellbeing of our employees, our fish, our property and Mr Staniford and his associates, and we are pleased that the court has agreed, again, with Mowi’s position.”