WWF press release, 23rd October 2002
Champions of the environment honoured at BEMAs
Environment Minister Michael Meacher and Don Staniford, a vocal campaigner on fish farming issues, have picked up awards recognising their individual contributions in protecting the environment at this evening’s British Environment and Media Awards (BEMAs), presented by WWF - the global environment network - and created by Media Natura. Michael Meacher received his special Awareness Award for being a politician who has a real knowledge of and passion for environmental issues that transcends short term political ambitions and popularity. Robert Napier, Chief Executive of WWF-UK who presented the award, said: "Michael Meacher has shone a light on what really needs to be done to save the earth – by governments, by business and all of us who depend on its rich diversity." The judges awarded this year's Andrew Lees Memorial Award to Don Staniford. The judges commended him for being a pre-eminent campaigner on the ecological, economic, consumer and safety issues associated with the fish-farming industry, particularly in Scotland. 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. The Andrew Lees Memorial Award was set up by a group of environment correspondents in the 1990s to honour the memory of a committed environmental campaigner who was always aware of the role the press can play in highlighting green issues. Chris Rose, Chairman of Media Natura said: "Don is in many ways in the mould of Andrew Lees – single-minded and passionate about the causes he believes in. His persistence, commitment, investigative skills, and willingness to share and explain his findings with the environment press make him a worthy winner of this year's award."
The BEMAs were created to promote excellence in environmental reporting among journalists and other professionals, including media executives and owners. The awards were run for 10 years by Media Natura. WWF took over the running of the event in 2001.
(Editor's notes: For more information on the BEMAs go to http://www.wwf.org.uk/bemas; See also: "Announcing the winners of the British Environment and Media Awards 2002" (WWF press release, 24th October): http://www.wwf.org.uk/News/n_0000000716.asp)
Intrafish also ran a story entitled: "Don Staniford receives major WWF-sponsored environmental award - one of the most implacable and outspoken opponents of the marine cage fish farming industry in Scotland has won a major environmental award".
The full article is available on the Intrafish web-site: http://www.intrafish.com It includes: "'Uncovered proofs' over illegal chemicals on fish farm: A WWF press release said: "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." The last point was a reference to Staniford's role in drawing media attention to the case of workers at
Ardessie Salmon in April 2000. The workers claimed they had been instructed to use a banned chemical, Deosect, to treat sea lice. Ardessie Salmon was subsequently expelled from Scottish Quality Salmon (SQS) in July 2000"
"From the salmon industry's point of view, last night's award could hardly have happened at a worse time. Don Staniford is prominently involved in the anti-farmed salmon campaign, which will see supermarkets across Britain picketed by demonstators this weekend. They will distribute leaflets explaining to shoppers why they "should not eat farm salmon". Staniford sees no problem with this. He has frequently told IntraFish that he is implacably opposed to farmed salmon, and would like to see consumers restricted to buying wild Alaska salmon – either fresh, in season, or canned. Invited by EU Fisheries Committee Earlier this month, he had a prime opportunity to try to influence European Union policy on aquaculture when he was the only environmental campaigner invited to address a European Parliamentary Committee on the
subject. (Read also: Anti-fish farmer behaving like ‘fundamentalist’ - EU rapporteur: http://www.intrafish.com/articlea.php?articleID=28367 - published today, 24.10.2002.) Staniford said that last night's awards ceremony was "a great opportunity to meet politicians, NGOs and the media. It was an excellent opportunity to spread the word about the campaign, and also to showcase the demonstration against farmed salmon which will be taking place all over Britain next Saturday," he added. In true Oscars style, Staniford was keen to give due credit: "I'd like to thank Scottish Quality Salmon, Ardessie Salmon, Setter Ness salmon, and all the other salmon farming companies who have given me such great stories over the last few years." At last year's BEMA ceremony, 'Warnings from the Wild' - the anti-salmon farming TV documentary broadcast on the BBC - was an award winner. The programme created a certain turnoil in the salmon industry."