In a decision that may or may not have been intentionally buried in routine business in the Canada Gazette, Environment Canada has granted US biotechnology firm AquaBounty Technologies Inc, permission to export up to 100,000 genetically modified salmon eggs a year from a hatchery in Prince Edward Island to a site high in the Panamanian rainforest.
The Canadian government said in its decision that the GM fish presented a high risk to Atlantic salmon, in the event of an escape, and a spokesman was adamant there would be no immediate sale or consumption of GM salmon eggs in Canada. However, the decision marked the first time any government had given the go-ahead to commercial scale production involving a GM food animal,and many feel the decision could bring the world's first GM food animal closer to supermarkets and dinner tables.
The move clears the way for AquaBounty to scale up production of the salmon at its sites in PEI and Panama in anticipation of eventual approval by the Food and Drug Administration, which is expected to render a decision in the near future on the sale of GM salmon. The limited approval still represents a big win for AquaBounty which has fought for 20 years to bring GM salmon to American dinner tables.
“This is a significant milestone in our efforts to make AquAdvantage salmon available for commercial production,” Ron Stotish, the company's chief executive, said in a statement. To read more, click HERE.