AquaBounty genetically modified salmon eggs. (Photo: AquaBounty)
Enviromentalists urge federal government to stop GM salmon project
Thursday, June 29, 2017, 01:00 (GMT + 9)
Local and national environmental groups once again urge Canada's federal government to perform a risk assessment on a new AquaBounty hatchery that will raise genetically-modified (GM) salmon to market size.
Last week, Prince Edward Island’s government authorities approved the request of the firm to expand its current installation located at Rollo Bay West with the construction of two 40,000 square-foot (3,716 m2) structures, where it intends to farm GM salmon since the eyed-roe phase.
These environmentalists’ concern stems from the fact that that these fish will escape and breed with wild salmon, thereby changing the genetic makeup of the wild specimen and also potentially competing with it.
A representative of one of these NGOs, Living Oceans Society, Karen Wristen insists the risks involved with producing genetically modified salmon need to be better examined.
However, Environment and Climate Change Canada stressed that the activity at the new facility does not require a federal environmental assessment.
The entity clarified that under federal notice, AquaBounty is required to only raise sterile fish in fully-contained, secure, land-based tanks, and the fish must be killed before they leave the facility.
Meanwhile, the province ordered the company to inform the province if a fish escapes or is released and stressed that no fish are allowed to be raised at the site until that plan is approved by the province, CBC News reported.
In addition, AquaBounty will have to provide monthly water-quality test results for a minimum of two years and that those findings will be posted on a government website for public viewing.
Despite the government's statements, Mary Boyd, with the Mackillop Centre, said that the decision to approve the project was "reckless," adding that it is unknown what this project could mean for the salmon industry as a whole.
AquaBounty's AquAdvantage Salmon is the first ever genetically modified food animal approved for sale in Canada and the United States.
CBC News informed the preliminary works for the construction of the facilities at Rollo Bay West have started and that total cost of AquaBounty project is CAD 13 million, according to the company's application for an environment impact assessment.
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