GAAIA, Pure Salmon, Pew/Moore Foundations (Feb. 2011)

FUNDING & Eco-certification; Is the Collaborative Solutions Work & Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue vs. Advocacy approach sealing Pure Salmon Campaign’s fate?


An article by Bertrand Charron posted: 21/02/2011

When the Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture (GAAIA) was recently launched,‘s attention was caught by the fact that GAAIA’s ‘global coordinator’ is Don Staniford, who has the same title in the Pure Salmon Campaign. We thus wondered what link – if any – there was between Pure Salmon & GAAIA, and ‘was GAAIA the continuation’ in any way of Pure Salmon, which has displayed a low profile for over 8 months? We asked Mr Staniford to clarify some of the perceived ambiguities.. he asked us to contact the Pew Environment Group re. Pure Salmon’s status… they asked us to contact Mr Staniford.. All this remained utterly confusing until we contacted the Gordon and Betty Moore foundation, who provided ca. US$3 million funding to both the National Environment Trust (NET, “taken over” by Pew in 2007) and to Pew Charitable Trusts. We publish below some of the extensive clarifications obtained – though there remains some contradictions – regarding Pure Salmon, GAAIA, funding by the Moore & Pew foundations & attitudes towards the WWF-backed Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) which is due to eco-certify farmed salmon (starting in 2011). One thing seems certain at this stage: the Pure Salmon Campaign, though not ‘defunct’, is ‘dormant’ as its funding ran out in June 2010. The Moore Foundation confirmed that it has “no relationship with GAAIA” and “no plans to fund it.” Nor has it any plans to fund Pure Salmon anymore… When it comes to the ASC, both Pew & Moore foundations said they were not providing funding, but acknowledged an interest in “collaborative solutions work” when it comes to aquaculture. This gives rise to further questions re. the level of support – “direct or indirect” – the ASC is rallying from Pew, as one of its senior officer sits on the ASC’s Supervisory Board. While said to be an “individual” position, it is one which has been “allowed” by Pew… This, and a lot more, below…

We have also learned (see below) that Pure Salmon’s Director, Andrea Kavanagh (a Pew staff), had stepped down (this was not advertised, thus the ambiguities) from her position in December… 2007 whereas Dave Bard (also a Pew staff), media contact for Pure Salmon, stopped that role in May 2010, leaving only Mr Staniford with a title (apparently).

Our readers may first of all want to refresh their memory by reading our previous article entitled:

In our February 7th article, we wrote: […] “However, the all-important question as to ‘who’ (what lobby/consortium) is behind this organisation remains somewhat unanswered. When it comes to funding, Mr Staniford didn’t anwser specifically, only to say: “GAAIA is currently reaching out globally for funding for our work. GAAIA certainly does not have a $1.5 million ad budget like the BCSFA but we’ll be rolling out our own ad campaign later this month in local newspapers across BC with donations from the general public, concerned fishermen and First Nations.” When we asked […] the Pew Environment Group’s Dave Bard and Andrea Kavanagh re. why was Pure Salmon seemingly no longer very active, Mr Bard asked us to contact Mr Staniford (technically also its ‘global coordinator’; still?), who had asked us to contact Mr. Bard… ‘Who’s who?’ remains the question. How can Mr Staniford be the ‘global coordinator’ of two campaigns which may or may not share the same views, without compromising the ideals/integrity of one and/or the other?”

Further to what is already contained in the above articles, what follows are the 3 sets of answers we obtained:

PS, Quotes are from:

  • Dave BardPew Environment Group.
  • Don Staniford, ‘Global Coordinator’ of the Pure Salmon Campaign and of the Global Alliance Against Aquaculture(GAAIA).
  • Philip Smith, CEO of the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC).
  • Joshua Reichert, head of the Pew Environment Group.
  • Ivan Thompson, Project Officer, Wild Salmon Ecosystem Initiative at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.


1) Dave Bard, of the Pew Environment Trust, told [succintly] Seafood Intelligence (Feb. 16th):

Pew does not fund the Pure Salmon Campaign or the Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture. I have not been the media contact for Pure Salmon since May 2010. Andrea has not been the director of Pure Salmon since December 2007.Please direct all Pure Salmon inquiries to Don Staniford, Pure Salmon Campaign global coordinator.”

These were the questions we had asked Mr Bard:

1) Does Pew fund/materially supports in any way, direct or indirect (i.e. through budgets allocated to organisations/NGOs/campaigns directly funded by Pew), the GAAIA?

I understand you had said: “While the Pew Environment Group appreciates the need for many different voices on environmental issues, we are not inclined to join GAAIA at this time”. But this is not to say that Pew doesn’t have any role in funding/backing the GAAIA via its funding towards the Pure Salmon Campaign; or is it?

2-a) Is Pew still funding the Pure Salmon campaign in 2011 and what is that budget funding?

2-b) What proportion of the Pure Salmon campaign’s annual budget does Pew’s funding represent (in %) for 2009 / 2010 / 2011?

2-c) Is the Pure Salmon campaign involved in any, direct or indirect, way with the GAAIA (in terms of funding, gracious loaning of staff hours, facilities and/or other resources].

3) And finally:

  1. a)Are you not concerned, at Pew, that the current opacity surrounding the fact that Don Staniford is the global coordinator of two organisations, one of which is/was partly funded by Pew (even if only the time & energy some Pew staff have devoted to it), and the other not (at least directly, you told me earlier), could lead to misunderstandings regarding any “conflicts of interests” in the positions/comments & actions Mr Staniford takes?
  2. b)Are you not concerned that those positions/comments & actions taken in the name/on behalf of the GAAIA by Don Staniford could be construed as having been condoned by Pew, due to the very fact of Don’s ‘double hat’.
  3. c)Does it not concern Pew and/or Pure Salmon (please let me know on behalf of which organisation you answer this one) from an ethical and transparency viewpoint that the ‘global coordinator’ for one of the campaign in which it plays a pivotal role (the only three public figures/voices of Pure Salmon are seemingly you two, and Don Staniford; 2/3 are thus Pew staffs) is also a ‘global coordinator’ of another (perhaps more ‘extreme’ in its views… but with both sharing some of the same topics when it comes to salmon farming) anti-salmon farming campaign?
  4. d)If Pew indeed considers that such ‘double hat’ of two ‘global coordinator’ positions being held by the same individual could lead to any of the aforementionned (mis)understandings, does Pew (or Pure Salmon) intend to do anything about it to clarify the situation and/or to address the issue?

And if not, why not?

2) Don Staniford, ‘Global Coordinator’ of the Pure Salmon Campaign & ‘Global Coordinator’ of the Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture (GAAIA) told  Seafood Intelligence (Feb. 17th); Q&As:


1) SeafoodIntelligence: Is the Pure Salmon Campaign still active (no press release on its website since last May 2010)?

Mr Staniford: The Pure Salmon Campaign is seeking alternative funding to continue so is currently treading water.

  1. a)SeafoodIntelligence:If so, why does it seem to have gone inactive since May 2010?

Mr Staniford: Funding from the Moore Foundation (who provided 100% of the funding for the Pure Salmon Campaign) ran out in June 2010.  A new web-site is currently under development but has been delayed.

a1) SeafoodIntelligence: Who are the other people acting in key positions in Pure Salmon (Director, Press Contact, etc…)?

Mr Staniford: When funding permitted, the Pure Salmon Campaign had representatives in Norway, Chile, Canada and Scotland. 

a2) SeafoodIntelligence: Has the list of Membership/ “Allies’ of Pure Salmon changed from what is listed on the Pure Salmon website @

Mr Staniford: No – I don’t think so.  A new Pure Salmon Campaign web-site will go live soon

  1. b)SeafoodIntelligence:If not, why has it been wrapped up? Is it lack of funding, or disagreement between the various founding partners over strategy, or both? Any other reasons? Please comment in detail.

Mr Staniford: Please ask the Moore Foundation why funding for the Pure Salmon Campaign was stopped.  I personally think it was a monumental mistake which Moore will come to regret.  The Pure Salmon Campaign was doing some excellent work and to pull the funding plug when the Pure Salmon Campaign was making inroads with the Marine Harvest and Cermaq in particular was illogical.  […] When Pew took over NET in 2007 it left a gaping hole in the global advocacy campaign.  Hence foundations such as Moore should be focussing more on advocacy not less – that’s my personal view.

  1. c)SeafoodIntelligence:Why did Dave Bard leave? and Why had Andrea Kavanagh left as Director in Dec. 2007? Who replaced Mrs. Kavanagh as Director of the Pure Salmon Campaign after she left?

Mr Staniford: Funding ran out in June – you’ll have to ask Dave Bard and Andrea Kavanagh for specific details.  As far as I am aware, the Pew Environment Group provided no direct funding to the Pure Salmon Campaign (NET – which was taken over by Pew in 2007 – may have done so but you will have to ask Pew).  It appears that Pew is focussing resources on supporting the certification of farmed salmon via the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (whose board they are represented on via Hank Cauley: and on supporting WWF’s ‘Salmon Aquaculture Dialogue’ (whose Steering Committee they are represented on:  You should ask Hank Cauley at Pew for more details. 

2) SeafoodIntelligence: Can you clarify the fact that you are ‘global coordinator’ for both campaigns (assuming Pure Salmon is still active) and the fact that this is giving the public the impression that the two campaigns share the same goals & ideals?

Mr Staniford: There are many similarities between GAAIA and the Pure Salmon Campaign.  Both the Pure Salmon Campaign and GAAIA want to see an end to escapes, use of toxic chemicals, the spread of infectious diseases and sea lice etc.  Global allies of the Pure Salmon Campaign will certainly be working with GAAIA.  GAAIA is considering joining the Pure Salmon Campaign and widening the membership.

3) SeafoodIntelligence: If the GAAIA and Pure Salmon do not share the same strategy/ies & views on aquaculture and salmon farming in particular, how can you justify the fact that you are ‘global coordinator’ for both campaigns?

Mr Staniford: The Pure Salmon Campaign contains many shades of green and the 35 + global allies differ in strategies.  Living Oceans and David Suzuki Foundation, for example, have signed a protocol agreement with Marine Harvest and are represented (via CAAR) along with Terram and Pew on the Steering Committee of WWF’s Salmon Aquaculture Dialogue.  Other groups prefer to be outside the dialogue process. 

4.1) SeafoodIntelligence: What are your views – as global coordinator of the Pure Salmon campaign – regarding the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) and its forthcoming certification for sustainable farmed salmon?

4.2) Again, as global coordinator of the Pure Salmon campaign, how do you describe the differences between the goals of the Pure Salmon Campaign and those of the newly launched Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture (GAAIA)?

5.1) What are your views – as global coordinator of the newly launched Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture (GAAIA) – regarding the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) and its forthcoming certification for sustainable farmed salmon?
5.2) Again, as global coordinator of the GAAIA, how do you describe the main differences between the goals of the GAAIA and those of the Pure Salmon Campaign?

Mr Staniford: For 4 & 5 please see the correspondence between GAAIA and the ASC and Pew. [NB: See Annex 2′]

Suffice to say that GAAIA will campaign vocally and vigorously against the certification of farmed salmon and against the ASC.  It’s fair to say that GAAIA’s views on the ASC probably differ from those at Pew, for example, but debate is healthy for the environmental movement.  GAAIA would be only too delighted if Pew withdrew their support for the ASC and took a stand against the certification of farmed salmon.  GAAIA’s views on certification and the dialogues are well known: and

6) SeafoodIntelligence: Is there any link between the fact that the ASC was officially launched last April/May 2010, and the fact that the Pure Salmon campaign has since gone (for the least and from a public’s perspective) “dormant”?

Mr Staniford: No

7) SeafoodIntelligence: Did any ‘conflict’ of interest surface amidst your ‘allies’ as to what best course of action should be followed by the Pure Salmon Campaign, after May 2010?

Mr Staniford: No – funding ran out.  Simple as that. 

8) SeafoodIntelligence: Is this linked in any way to the emergence of the ASC?


9) SeafoodIntelligence: Does the Pure Salmon campaign plan any event in the near future?

Mr Staniford: Everything depends on funding.  But as shareholders in Marine Harvest and Cermaq the Pure Salmon Campaign plans to attend the AGMs in Norway in May – as we have done so for the last five years.

10) SeafoodIntelligence: Was the Pure Salmon Campaign ever designed as a ‘short term’ project with a defined ‘life expectancy’ (i.e. was a planned ‘wrap-up’ date ever planned? or is it? in case Pure Salmon is still active)

Mr Staniford: Yes – most campaigns are funded for 5 years.  I understand that the first funding for the Pure Salmon Campaign was in 2003/2004.  You will have to ask the Moore Foundation and Pew for specific details – the answers are beyond my pay grade.


2′ ANNEXES/Complement to Mr Staniford’s replies:

  1. A) Excerpt from a Feb. 9thcorrespondence between theASC’s CEO, Philip Smith, and Don Staniford:

2′ – a1)

Philip Smith: “Members of the ASC Supervisory Board are elected as individuals. They do not represent organisations for whom they work or have any other association with and accordingly, should Hank Cauley complete his term as a member of the ASC Supervisory Board or decide to stand down, nominations for his replacement would be considered on the basis of skills and competencies required to complement other members of the board in order to meet the needs of the ASC. Pew is not currently one of the funders of the ASC.”

2′ – a2)

In response to the above, Mr Staniford wrote (on Feb 20th, to Mr Smith / ASC):

If “members of the ASC Supervisory Board are elected as individuals” and “do not represent organisations for whom they work or have any other association” then surely this should be clarified and corrected on your web-site?

A reply would be much appreciated.  The ASC web-site still lists Pew as represented on the Supervisory Board of the ASC:

[… A public clarification on this issue would therefore be much appreciated. If the ASC continues to refuse to clarify this issue then I would strongly suggest that at any future presentations you point out clearly that the Supervisory Board is elected solely as individuals and not identify their institutional affiliation.  At the Seafood Summit’s breakfast informational meeting in Vancouver on 2nd February, Mr Cauley was clearly introduced as representing Pew.  If the ASC Supervisory Board are elected solely as individuals they why even list institutional affiliations on your web-site or announce it publicly?

[…] it is clearly a deliberate and systematic attempt to leave the audience and reader with the distinct impression that Pew supports the ASC when you know full well that this is simply not the case. […]


  1. B)Answers (given on Feb. 20Th,Joshua Reichert, heads the Pew Environment Group) to questions by Mr Staniford to Pew  ASC funding, fact that a Pew staff is on the ASC Board, and Pew support towards farmed salmon (eco)certification:
  • QUESTION 1: Is Pew as an organization formally represented on the Supervisory Board of the ASC?


Context: We have allowed Hank Cauley, because of his prior experience dealing with certification systems and his interest in the topic, to participate on the supervisory board of the ASC as an individual, not as a representative of the Trusts.  This leaves us, as an organization, free to criticize [or support] whatever  standards emerge from the process.


The second question has two parts:

1) Does Pew formally support the ASC; and

2) Does Pew formally support the certification of farmed salmon?

With respect to part  1), the answer is no.  We do not formally support the ASC.

The answer to part 2) is  qualified.  At present, we are not aware of any existing open ocean salmon farming operation that meets sufficiently high environmental standards, the certification of which we would endorse.    However,  we have not closed the door on the possibility that the aquaculture industry can, at some point in the future, meet such standards.  If that were to happen, then we would certainly be prepared to consider support for certification.

3) Ivan Thompson, Project Officer, Wild Salmon Ecosystem Initiative at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation told  Seafood Intelligence (Feb 18th.), Q&As:

Thank you for the opportunity to provide some clarification before you write your article.” – Mr Thompson…

1) SeafoodIntelligence: Why was the (direct or indirect) funding for the Pure Salmon Campaign stopped by the Moore Foundation in 2010?

Mr Thompson: The Moore Foundation has stopped funding the Pure Salmon Campaign due to emerging opportunities to focus instead on supporting the development of solutions.  We have increased our funding to support initiatives such as the Coordinated Access Management Program (fallowing), joint research initiatives between salmon farm companies and conservation groups, and research trials in alternative aquaculture technology.

2) SeafoodIntelligence: Is/Will the Moore Foundation give any more (direct or indirect) advocacy grants relating to salmon farming/aquaculture in 2011?

Mr Thompson: At this point the Moore Foundation does not have plans to make any new advocacy grants relating to salmon farming/aquaculture in 2011.  Our hope is that the collaborative solutions work will continue and it is our intention to prioritize funding it.

3) SeafoodIntelligence: What was the Moore Foundation’s level of funding (direct or indirect) towards the Pure Salmon Campaign since 2006 per year and in US$?

Mr Thompson: The Moore Foundation provided two grants that I believe are relevant to your interest in the Pure Salmon Campaign: a $1,525,000 3-year grant to National Environment Trust in 2005 and a $1,500,000 2 year grant to Pew Charitable Trusts in 2008.  The Pure Salmon Campaign was in part supported through those grants, however, according to our records, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation was not the sole funder in either case. 

4) SeafoodIntelligence: Was it always the intention of the Moore Foundation’s to (directly or indirectly) fund the Pure Salmon Campaign for 5 years and not more?

Mr Thompson: The Moore Foundation did not have a set duration to its funding plan.

5) SeafoodIntelligence: Will the Moore Foundation fund again (directly or indirectly) the the Pure Salmon Campaign in the near future? In 2011? To what tune (in US$)?

Mr Thompson: We have no further plans to fund the Pure Salmon Campaign for the reasons outlined above.

6) SeafoodIntelligence: Does/will the Moore Foundation fund/give grants (directly or indirectly) to theAquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC)? In 2010? in 2011? (if so, how much)?

Mr Thompson: We do not fund the ASC.  However, we do provide funding to Living Oceans Society and the David Suzuki Foundation who are participants in the Salmon Aquaculture Dialogue, the multi-stakeholder process exploring certification options.

7) SeafoodIntelligence: Finally, as you are probably aware, a new group [the Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture (GAAIA)] was launched by Don Staniford at the Seafood Summit in Vancouver earlier this month, of which he is the ‘global coordinator’. As you know, Mr Staniford is also the ‘global coordinator’ of the Pure Salmon Campaign. My question to the Moore Foundation is: “Does it not concern the Moore Foundation – from an ethical and transparency viewpoint – that the ‘global coordinator’ of one of the campaign which it funds in its entirety (Pure Salmon, i.e. Moore could be construed as being the ’employer’ of Mr Staniford in that role) is also a ‘global coordinator’ of another anti-aquaculture organisation (but perhaps a ‘more extreme’ one in its views): the GAAIA?

Mr Thompson: We have no relationship with GAAIA and have no plans to fund it.  The fact that a former employee of a past grantee is now presumably employed by GAAIA is not of interest or concern to us.

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation looks forward to supporting the collaborative work of the fish farm industry and other stakeholders to advance a prosperous and sustainable future for salmon aquaculture in BC.

PS: Read also the subsequent article we published later on the same day (21.02.2011):

HOT News: PEW Environment Group “distancing” itself from ASC? Clarification about ASC Board membership coming
Posted by: Administrator on 21 February 2011 20:33


PS’: Subsequent to the above, including series of ‘leaked’ email, we published a ‘counter-leak’ on 22.02.2011… and the saga continued:

PEW Environment has no position regarding the Aquaculture Stewardship Council “either pro or con” (22.02.2011)

It is unfortunate that you are characterizing Hank Cauley and the ASC as deliberately distorting the Pew Environment Group’s relationship with the ASC. We don’t view it that way,” commented Joshua Reichert, Managing Director of the Pew Environment Group at the Pew Charitable Trusts, in an email to Don Staniford, global coordinator of the Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture (GAAIA) & (still) global coordinator of the Pure Salmon Campaign of which Pew Charitable Trusts is a member. Monday, Mr Staniford had responded publicly to a comment by Mr Reichert signalling that “all reference to Pew will be removed from the ASC [Aquaculture Stewardship Council] web-site this week” (referring to the fact that Pew had one of its senior executive – Hank Cauley – listed, together with his Pew title, as one the four members of the ASC’s Supervisory Board; something which could be construed as an indirect endorsement by Pew of the ASC’s actions) by stating that “GAAIA applauds Pew for distancing themselves as an organization from the ASC. [..] The actions of the ASC and Hank Cauley [..] in misrepresenting Pew’s support to the public, retailers, media and potential investors casts a huge shadow over the credibility of the ASC.”

Mr Reichert is eager to point out that “Mr. Cauley has, in an individual capacity, tried to contribute to the ongoing discussions about salmon certification in ways that have hopefully enhanced the quality of these discussions. The Pew Environment Group has no position regarding the ASC, either pro or con. However, we certainly support the desire of people on all sides of the salmon debate to improve the environmental performance of salmon aquaculture. Moreover, we believe it is possible to do that while simultaneously advocating for the protection of wild fish. The former is by no means an abandonment of the latter, and we do not view this as an either/or situation.

Regardless of the position one may take with respect to salmon farming, it is not likely to disappear anytime soon.  In the meantime, the marine conservation community has a vested interest in minimizing its impacts on the ocean environment. This is precisely what Mr. Cauley has attempted to do in participating on the ASC Board.

Joshua S. Reichert – Managing Director of the Pew Environment Group at the Pew Charitable Trusts in an email correspondance to Mr Staniford forwarded to

Tic, Tac, Tic, Tac… Read also, previously on 


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