Council of Canadians lists GM salmon concerns

 THE GUARDIAN (Charlottetown, PEI)

Leo Broderick: Council of Canadians lists GM salmon concerns
Published on July 17, 2017

Many on this Island having been working for years to prevent P.E.I. from becoming the ‘home of the world’s first frankenfish.’

The Council of Canadians P.E.I. Chapter submitted the following to the provincial government regarding the request of AquaBounty to grow and market GM salmon on P.E.I. Sadly, none of our concerns were addressed by the province.

“We have reviewed the Amended Environmental Impact Statement for AquaBounty Canada Inc. We say that this proposal is more than an amended version; we view it as an entirely new project as the purpose of the facility has changed significantly. AquaBounty is proposing the facility at Rollo Bay West now be used to rear AquAdvantage salmon, a genetically modified salmon, from eyed egg to market size within the facility.

Related: Advocates ask McKenna to halt Aquabounty's GM salmon plans for P.E.I.

In our submission on AquaBounty’s first proposal we urged caution saying, “If approval is given to this facility we believe this creates an opportunity for AquaBounty to turn it into a GM production facility sometime in the future.” We were right.

Our concerns are as follows:

1. In the report it says, AquaBounty will only produce sterile females at the Rollo Bay West factory. However, the plan AquaBounty submitted to FDA (USA) can only guarantee sterility for 95 per cent of the eggs at a commercial scale. Moreover, AquaBounty will need to keep stocks of fertile fish to produce new offspring. The risk of this GM salmon to wild Atlantic salmon populations and other fish species is there, even in a land-based facility especially so close to a stream and the Northumberland Strait.

2. Climate change and warmer oceans may also give GM salmon an advantage over wild populations. Research has found that GM salmon are better able to survive in warmer waters and to adapt to shifting environmental conditions than wild salmon.