Two Canadian groups are speaking out against the introduction of AquaBounty’s genetically engineered salmon: Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) and Islanders Say No to Frankenfish. Could the approval of GM fish eggs be the first major stepping stone in pushing GM salmon into the public arena without full approval?
They find Canada’s approval of commercial production of genetically modified Atlantic salmon eggs is an alarming decision that sets up Canada to be the source of global environmental risk.
The Environment Canada approval, published on November 23 in the Canada Gazette, is the first government approval for the company AquaBounty. The company has asked for approval of the GM Atlantic salmon for human consumption in the United States, based on a plan to produce the GM fish eggs in Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada and ship them to Panama for grow-out and processing.
The PEI facility already produces GM salmon eggs for research, which are shipped to the company’s Panama location for further research and development. If fully approved for production and consumption, the GM salmon would be the first GM food animal in the world.
Just last week, on November 21, an environmental group in Panama filed a complaint alleging that AquaBounty’s research and development of the GM fish, using eggs sent from PEI, was not in compliance with national and international environmental regulations.
Leo Broderick of the PEI group called Islanders Say No to Frankenfish said:
We’re devastated that Prince Edward Island is now officially the home of the Frankenfish. We don’t want our Island to be the source of this dangerous living pollution.
Lucy Sharratt, head of CBAN said:
We are extremely disappointed and alarmed that our government has approved the production of GM fish eggs. GM salmon egg production in Canada endangers the future of wild Atlantic salmon around the world.
It’s simply crazy that the world’s first GM fish eggs are now going to be coming from Canada.
Its unacceptable that this incredibly important decision was made in total secrecy and without any public consultation.
The Canadian Biotechnology Action Network has repeatedly asked Environment Canada, the Minister of the Environment, and AquaBounty to say if an assessment for approval of the GM fish eggs was underway. All parties refused to answer this question for public disclosure.
“This isn’t the international image we want for our beautiful Island,” said Broderick.
For more information on the timeline and background of AquaBounty’s GM salmon, check out www.cban.ca/fish
The Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) is a campaign coalition of 17 groups including farmer associations, environmental groups, regional coalitions of grassroots groups, and international development organizations, all of which have various concerns about genetic engineering in food and farming. www.cban.ca/fish
Recent posts by Heather Callaghan: