GMO Salmon May Have Hit Roadblock

By B. McPherson
The approval in Canada of GMO super salmon may have hit a roadblock. The environmental watchdog for Canada is deciding whether to allow the manufacture of Atlantic salmon eggs that also contain genes from the Pacific Chinook salmon as well as a little known fish call a sea pout. The research facility for AquaAtvantage salmon is located in the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island(PEI) and the company wishes to convert to commercial production of the transgenic eggs.
The salmon eggs are engineered to produce salmon that will grow twice as fast as normal salmon. These GMO animals were reviewed last year by the USA’s Federal Department of Agriculture(FDA) and given tentative approval – not expected to be harmful to eat and have little effect on the environment.
According to information in the Vancouver Sun newspaper, these fish, manufactured by AquaBounty Technologies would become the first GMO animals deemed safe to eat.

The Canadian Environmental Protection Agency(CEPA) is wrestling with the scope of its mandate with these engineered fish. To police a commercial operation within PEI would be relatively simple, but AquaBounty is planning to move the salmon eggs to an inland fish farm in Panama. Once the superfish mature, they would be moved back to the USA for public consumption. For the Canadian government agency to try to police practises in Panama opens a whole variety of difficulties.
Plans to corral introduced species have a way of fooling the planners. On the west coast of Canada, open net fish farms raising Atlantic salmon have escapement from various mishaps and Atlantic salmon have been found breeding in competition with local salmon. The Great Lakes are expecting an onslaught from the Chinese carp which escaped a few years ago from flooded American fish farms and have been making their marauding way north ever since.
 I am often reminded of an old commercial in which the narrator says, “It’s not nice to food Mother Nature”. I think it was her that passed the Law of Unintended Consequences.

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