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CONTACT: Council of Canadians
Leo Broderick, Council of Canadians, 902 894 4874,
Mary Boyd 902 892 9074: Sharon Labchuk, Earth Action, 902 621 0719,
Lucy Sharratt, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, 613 241 2267 ext 6.
Prince Edward Island Groups Denounce Plans for Local GE Salmon Production
PEI representative to attend US hearings on GE fish safety
WASHINGTON - September 16 - Bay Fortune, Prince Edward Island, Canada, - Today in Prince Edward Island (PEI) representatives from environmental and health groups held a press conference outside AquaBounty's Bay Fortune facility to denounce the company's plans to commercially produce genetically engineered (GE) fish eggs at the location. The company is asking the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve its GE Atlantic salmon for human consumption and says it will soon ask for approval in Canada. AquaBounty recently revealed its plan to produce GE fish eggs exclusively on PEI, then ship the eggs to Panama for growing out and processing to then sell into the US consumer market.
The company claims the fish grow twice as fast as other farmed fish.
The FDA has preliminarily concluded that the GE salmon is safe but won't make a final decision until after public hearings September 19 and 20. On September 21, the FDA will also hold a hearing on the question of labeling the GE fish. Leo Broderick of Prince Edward Island and Vice-chair of the Council of Canadians will travel to Maryland to attend the hearings where dozens of US groups will testify about the problems with the GE salmon and the gaps in the science.
"I am going to the hearings to make sure we can get as much information as possible for Canadians and Islanders about the risks of GE salmon. Canadians and Islanders haven't been consulted at all about AquaBounty's plan," said Broderick. "The US hearings could have a big impact on PEI and Canada and I think someone from the Canada and Island should be there. If the US approves GE salmon, PEI could soon become known around the world as the home of Frankensalmon."
"We're really concerned that the US government is not seriously looking at the heath risks of eating GE fish," said Mary Boyd of the PEI Health Coalition, "Certainly Health Canada should not even consider approving GE fish."
"The company is avoiding a real environmental assessment in the US by saying they will produce the GE fish eggs in PEI and then grow out the fish in Panama," said Sharon Labchuk of Earth Action PEI, "If the US approves this GE salmon, PEI could be the source of an environmental disaster."
"If the US approves the GE salmon it will open the door to GE fish and other dangerous GE animals in Canada and the rest of the world," said Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network "This company is pushing to commercialize a GE fish that no one wants, and using PEI to do it."