With many thanks to CBAN. (CBAN does impeccable work. I highly recommend them.)
GM Salmon Hits Obstacle
GM salmon are not yet approved for growing at Rollo Bay PEI. Take action to ensure a full environmental assessment today!
The company AquaBounty has hit a major obstacle in its plans to grow genetically modified (GM, or genetically engineered) salmon in Canada – it doesn’t yet have federal approval to grow GM fish at its new facility in Rollo Bay, PEI! This means that the government could now decide to conduct a full environmental risk assessment. Send your letter to the Minister of Environment today to help make a real assessment happen!
The reality of this situation was confirmed by CBAN with other environmental groups through a prolonged court case, our ongoing research, and your action letters, and it was finally settled in a recent letter to us from the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change.
- Send your letter instantly to the Minister of Environment to ask for a full assessment.
- Contact your grocery store today and ask them to pledge not to sell the GM salmon.
- Donate today to help us continue our monitoring and action.
Here’s what happened and why it matters:
You’ll remember that, this June, the PEI government approved construction of the world’s first GM fish factory at Rollo Bay – but it turns out that AquaBounty doesn’t yet have federal approval to grow GM salmon at that site! The company only has approval to produce GM fish at its Bay Fortune research site, which it says is too small.
If AquaBounty wants to grow GM fish at Rollo Bay, it needs to ask the government for approval. That approval request will trigger a new federal risk assessment. But will the Minister conduct a full assessment of the environmental risks? You can help make that happen. Send your instant letter to the Minister today from CBAN’s website.
The truth in PEI was confirmed by the federal government in response to your letters and the work of CBAN with other environmental organizations. It confirms the decision made by the Federal Court in a case began in 2013 by CBAN member group Ecology Action Centre (EAC) in Nova Scotia and Living Oceans Society in BC, represented by lawyers at Ecojustice.
This means that GM fish production in Canada is slowed down, and could be stopped altogether.
GM salmon are approved for eating in Canada but are not yet being produced in Canada and are not on the market anywhere in the world.
AquaBounty may not have even realized it is missing permission to produce GM fish at Rollo Bay, and the Government of PEI may not have know either. CBAN and our allies have persistently followed all the details of this case over many years, to ensure accountability and transparency. We need your support to continue our work.
At the moment, AquaBounty only has approval to grow GM salmon at its older research facility at Bay Fortune (Souris), PEI. But the company says, “Due to space limitations at the AquaBounty facility in Fortune, commercial expansion is not feasible at this location.” That’s why it bought the Rollo Bay site and started construction, for a plan to produce 250 metric tons of GM salmon per year.
The irony is that it was Aquabounty’s attempts to avoid a full risk assessment that led to their current problem. The company asked to skip the federal requirement to submit scientific information on GM salmon toxicity and invasiveness when it got its original approval in PEI. In 2013, the Minister granted AquaBounty this “waiver of information requirements”, but this waiver applied only to the Bay
Fortune facility. At that time, the company’s proposal was to produce GM salmon eggs, not fish.
AquaBounty has continually changed its plans. First, their PEI facility was going to supply GM salmon eggs to be grown out in Panama. Then, Rollo Bay was going to be the world’s first GM fish factory. Now, AquaBounty has started construction at Rollo Bay, without knowing if GM salmon can be grown there. You can take action today to stop GM salmon production in PEI.
- Check the timeline of events.
- Read our detailed background information.
- Read CBAN’s opinion piece submitted to the PEI Guardian newspaper.
- Read the press release below
Check www.cban.ca/fish for more details and updates.
Ottawa, August 7, 2017 – AquaBounty revealed on August 4, in its quarterly financial results, that it has sold approximately five tonnes of genetically modified (GM or genetically engineered) Atlantic salmon fillets in Canada.(1) This is the world’s first sale of GM fish for human consumption and has occurred without GM product labelling for Canadian consumers.
“No one except AquaBounty knows where the GM salmon are,” said Lucy Sharratt of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN). “The company did not disclose where the GM salmon fillets were sold or for what purpose, and we’re shocked to discover that they’ve entered the market at this time.”
Without mandatory labeling in Canada, CBAN works to track GM foods to keep Canadians informed.
“The immediate remedy is for grocery stores to commit to keeping GM salmon out,” said Sharratt. So far, two grocery companies in Canada have published statements online responding to consumer concerns over GM salmon: IGA Quebec states that it only orders non-GM salmon, and Costco’s website states that it does not intend to sell it.(2)
“We clearly need mandatory labelling of all GM foods,” said Thibault Rehn of the Quebec network Vigilance OGM, a member group of CBAN.
There is no federal government tracking of GM products in the market and Members of Parliament voted down a Private Members Bill for mandatory GM food labelling in May. GM salmon is approved for human consumption in the US and Canada, but there is a import ban in the US until labelling guidelines are published.
“When it comes to GM foods, Canadian consumers are shopping blind,” said Sharratt.
(1) AquaBounty Technologies, Inc. Quarterly Filing, 10-Q, 08/04/17. http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=197553&p=irol-sec#15145522
(2) IGA Quebec: “Non-GMO salmon: At IGA, we order only non-GMO salmon from our suppliers, even though genetically modified salmon is legal and approved by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).” https://www.iga.net/en/in_the_community/buying/sustainable_fishing
Costco: “Costco does not intend to sell genetically modified salmon.” https://www.costco.com/sustainability-fisheries.html
Further background details are published at www.cban.ca/fish
For more information: Lucy Sharratt, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, (613) 809-1103; Thibault Rehn, Vigilance OGM, (514) 582-1674 (in French).