Jun 20, 2019 | Updated: 03:45 PM EDT

Genetically Modified Salmon, Sold In Canada, Raises Concerns Among The Environmentalists

Aug 08, 2017 04:07 PM EDT

A Salmon caught by a fisherman is seen in the Docklands Precinct on August 24, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia
(Photo : Michael Dodge/Getty Images) A Salmon caught by a fisherman is seen in the Docklands Precinct on August 24, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia.

Genetically modified salmon finally landed in the market of Canada without labels of warnings. This fact has created concerns among the environmentalists.

The environmentalists want the withdrawal of this genetically modified salmon from the market. According to Thibault Rehn of the group Vigilance OGM, the said salmon is the first genetically modified animal that has landed in the Canadian market. Thibault Rehn has suggested the Canadian consumers as the first guinea pigs, CTV News reported.

The known AquaBounty Technologies is the key developer of this genetically modified salmon. This U.S. company announced on Aug. 4 that it sold 4.5 tonnes of salmon in Canada. The company has sold the product only after receiving the green signal from the food and the health authorities.

In May the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Health Ministry said that this genetically modified salmon is safe for consumption and nutritious. Lucy Sharratt from the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network revealed that the U.S. company only knows where it has sold the said salmon filets. But, the company is not ready to disclose anything about it. She also says that it is a shocking fact to know the salmon filets have already landed in the market.

According to Scientific American, the AquaBounty Technologies first raised the genetically modified salmon in Panama. Later the company plans to start producing this salmon on the Prince Edward Island in Canada. The company has already penned a deal with the local authorities. But, the company has so far not received the Health Ministry's permission.

AquaBounty Technologies has recently acquired a fish farm located in Albany, Indiana. The company now waits for the permission of the U.S. regulators to start production there. The FDA approval for the salmon consumption came in November 2015, while the same decision from the Canadian authorities came six months later. The interesting fact is neither country needs to label the genetically modified salmon.

The genetically modified salmon by the AquaBounty contains a specific growth gene that helps salmon to grow faster compared to the conventional one. This genetically modified salmon can acquire the adult size within 16 to 18 months. But, the natural born Atlantic salmon needs 30 months to acquire the adult size. Notably, the U.S. company has modified the Atlantic salmon with the growth gene from the Pacific Chinook salmon.

Activists in Canada and the U.S. have already demanded the regulators to reconsider their decisions regarding this genetically modified salmon. Some even filed lawsuits. Last year a known environmental-advocacy group, The Center for Food Safety, sued the FDA and tried to overturn its decision regarding salmon. The U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski has even called this genetically modified salmon of AquaBounty as "fake fish".

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