Freshwater Fish suing for defamation

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THE Freshwater Fish Marketing Corp. has filed a defamation suit against a critic who alleged the federal Crown corporation sold fish that’s unfit for human consumption.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 23/02/2016 (2368 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

THE Freshwater Fish Marketing Corp. has filed a defamation suit against a critic who alleged the federal Crown corporation sold fish that’s unfit for human consumption.

Freshwater Fish processes and markets fish on behalf of 1,700 commercial fishers, most of whom operate in Manitoba waters. In a statement of claim filed before the Court of Queen’s Bench on Feb. 17, the corporation alleges Kim Sigurdson, a longtime critic and occasional Free Press contributor, authored emails suggesting some of the lake trout, lake whitefish and northern pike sold by Freshwater Fish are not inspected by a government agent and could endanger human health.

Freshwater Fish claims Sigurdson is endangering the corporation’s economic well-being by telling its customers, brokers and agents fish has been stored too long and could have decomposed. It cites an email dated Feb. 8, in which Sigurdson suggested a distributor check a shipment of frozen fish “for decomposition, as it could make your customers ill or worse.”

Freshwater Fish claims Sigurdson is trying to harm its business and said it has suffered “irreparable harm to its business and business reputation which can not be compensated by way of damages.” The corporation said it prides itself on its “strict quality control” as well as the safety of the fish it sells.

Freshwater Fish is also seeking an interim restraining order against Sigurdson that would prevent him from further interfering with the corporation’s business or communicating directly or indirectly with its clients. A hearing before the Court of Queen’s Bench is scheduled for Tuesday.

The allegations made by Freshwater Fish have not been proven in court. Sigurdson said in an interview he has not done anything wrong and claims Freshwater Fish is trying to silence him.

“I think it’s been beyond belief. For 30 years, I’ve been an advocate for northern fishermen, trying to get them better prices, and they’re trying to gag me,” Sigurdson said.

In November, after Sigurdson spoke at the corporation’s annual public meeting in Winnipeg, some commercial fishers in attendance complained he is not a member of their ranks.

bartley.kives@freepress.mb.ca

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