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AquaBounty GMO salmon next to a natural sized salmon. (Photo Credit: AquaBounty)

AquaBounty rejects 'misinterpretation' of environment authority's sanctions

Click on the flag for more information about Panama PANAMA
Thursday, October 30, 2014, 04:10 (GMT + 9)

AquaBounty Technologies denied the 'misstatements' expressed by environmental groups indicating that Panamanian authorities have imposed a USD 9,500 fine on the firm for having repeatedly breached environmental laws at its Panamanian facility.

The company stressed that this accusations misrepresent the facts and ensured the issues on which it was notified have been solved.

Panamanian National Environmental Authority (ANAM) filed a complaint last year made by a Panamanian environmental organization, Centro de Incidencia Ambiental (CIAM), allegedly related to AquaBounty's lack of compliance with a raft of environmental safety rules and regulations, including failing to secure legally required permits related to water use and water discharge prior to beginning operations.

“When AquaBounty was informed of issues at our Panama facility, we immediately contacted ANAM, the Panamanian agency for the environment. We initiated a programme to remedy the deficiencies and the issues were formally resolved in August of 2014 with publication of ARACH 071-2014. AquaBounty paid a fine and the matter was closed,” explained the firm’s sources in a release.

Besides, the firm added that the its facility is inspected frequently by various agencies of the Panamanian government and, as of Resolution ARACH 071.2014, continues to operate with no sanctions or restrictions.

Meanwhile, Food & Water Watch, Center for Food Safety and Friends of the Earth called on the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to terminate its regulatory review and deny AquaBounty’s pending regulatory application to sell the company’s GE fish in the United States.

“FDA has always assured the public that it is checking, monitoring and regulating AquaBounty’s production platform to ensure the company can mitigate the well-documented environmental impacts of escaped GE salmon,” said Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Watch.

“We now know that AquaBounty is unwilling or unable to follow basic rules and regulations, and FDA is unable or unwilling to enforce them. It’s time to put an end to this dangerous experiment,” she highlighted.

For some time, anti-GM salmon organisations have long-worried that AquaBounty chose “its out-of-the-way production facility as a way to evade regulatory scrutiny.”

“AquaBounty’s days of hiding in the highlands of Panama are over. This is even more evidence that the FDA should deny approval of AquaBounty’s application for genetically engineered salmon,” claimed Dana Perls, Food and Technology Campaigner at Friends of the Earth.

“Once these fish escape, it is impossible to retrieve them. And it may be extremely difficult to contain the negative environmental impacts of escaped fish,” she stressed.

Given these new accusations, the firm stressed that none of the issues in the Resolution questioned the containment, health of the fish, or the environmental safety of the facility. And it pointed out that they continue to work closely with all regulatory agencies to assure compliance with all their requirements.


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