Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

For Immediate Release

Press Release

Public Interest Groups Headed Back to Court to Overturn GM Salmon Ruling

Unassessed risks surrounding manufacture of genetically-modified salmon allow for too much uncertainty, groups say

Public interest groups are headed to the Federal Court of Appeal to fight a ruling they say creates far too much uncertainty about the environmental risks of commercial grow-out of genetically-modified salmon.

“Government scientists did not evaluate the grow-out of these genetically-modified salmon in Canada,” said Mark Butler, Policy Director at Ecology Action Centre. “We are concerned about the probability of escapes and the risk to wild salmon.  There are some unanswered questions about how and where these fish can be used and we are looking for clear answers from the court to protect the environment and wild salmon.”

Ecojustice lawyers, acting on behalf of Ecology Action Centre and Living Oceans Society, filed the appeal.  The groups seek clear direction from the Federal Court of Appeal about the implications of the government’s 2013 decision which could allow AquaBounty’s genetically-modified salmon to be used at locations and in ways that were not assessed according to requirements under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA).

“Although the lower court agreed with us that the law prohibits the federal government from allowing AquaBounty to use this genetically-modified organism at locations other than at its assessed facility in P.E.I., our clients are still concerned that the decision leaves too many questions unanswered,” said Kaitlyn Mitchell, Ecojustice lawyer. “Decision-making about genetically-modified organisms must follow the requirements in the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. The safety of human health and protection of biodiversity depends on it.”

Under CEPA, before a new genetically-modified organism can be manufactured in Canada, the Minister of the Environment and the Minister of Health must collect and assess all required information in order to determine whether the organism is toxic or capable of becoming toxic to human health or biodiversity.

“We want to see the Federal Court’s decision overturned,” said Karen Wristen, executive director of Living Oceans Society. “The Canadian Environmental Protection Act was designed to ensure that new products of biotechnology are assessed in a precautionary manner. If the risks posed by the use and commercial grow-out of AquaBounty’s genetically-modified salmon were not assessed, then it should not be given the go-ahead according to the Act. It’s that simple.”


As Canada's only national environmental law charity, Ecojustice is building the case for a better earth.

Nabisco Strike Ends After Union Members Approve New Contract

"Congratulations to these brave workers on their wins," said one labor writer. "May their determination and grit be an inspiration for workers everywhere."

Jessica Corbett ·

'I Had a Duty of Care': Doctor Praised for Violating Texas' New Abortion Ban

"I hope the law gets overturned," Dr. Alan Braid said, "and if this is what does it, that would be great."

Jessica Corbett ·

'Infuriating Disappointment': Biden DHS Ramping Up Deportations to Haiti

"It is unconscionable for the Biden administration to resume deportation flights to Haiti, despite the country's ongoing political, economic, and environmental disasters."

Jessica Corbett ·

Architect of Texas Abortion Ban Takes Aim at LGBTQ+ Rights While Urging Reversal of Roe

"Make no mistake, the goal is to force extreme, outdated, religious-driven values on all of us through the courts."

Jessica Corbett ·

Ahead of Canadian Election, Bernie Sanders and Rashida Tlaib Endorse NDP

"Bernie, you have fought courageously for public healthcare, affordable medication, making the rich pay their fair share, and tackling the climate crisis," said party leader Jagmeet Singh. "We're doing the same here."

Jessica Corbett ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo