Now Canada joins GM salmon debate –

Now Canada joins GM salmon debate Published:  26 October, 2011

PLANS by a US company to produce genetically modified salmon are now meeting with resistance from certain fishing related elements in Canada.

The company behind the plan, AquaBounty Technologies, has had to fend off criticism from US senators representing wild fishing areas like Alaska. AquaBounty’s GM project and whether the salmon can be sold in shops and restaurants, is currently being assessed by the US Food and Drugs Administration (FDA).

But the protests have crossed the International Border between Canada and the US up to Prince Edward Island. GM salmon grows to a larger size than either wild or ordinary farmed salmon, but AquaBounty said it could eventually help to feed an increasingly protein hungry world and insist their product is quite safe.

The AquaBounty Technologies experimental fish plant in Bay Fortune on Prince Edward Island produces the Atlantic genetically-modified salmon eggs which will  be reared to adulthood in Panama, as a food product in the United States.

The development has led to some colourful language being used with Leo Broderick of the Council of Canadians telling a local conference that if the experiment was allowed to continue Prince Edward Island would become known as a “drug factory”. According to Canadian press reports, he added: “That’s what’s it’s going to be labelled as, because we will indeed become known around the world as the home of the Frankenfish.”

Jaydee Hanson, a policy analyst with the US-based Centre for Food Safety, told Prince Edward Islanders at the same conference that  AquaBounty wasn’t providing the public with information on its product. “It is not something that everybody should want on their table, at least with this scant bit of data,” he said. AquaBounty  has been mounting a strong defences of its work and what it describes as myths about the genetically modified salmon. The company said it is not shipping fish from one country to another for sale to consumers, but plans instead to sell sterile eggs to fish farmers who will be required to grow them in secure inland facilities. The salmon are modified to grow faster than wild Atlantic salmon and the company is using a facility in Panama to grow the salmon while the approval process is underway.