HALIFAX – A Halifax environmental group is taking the federal government to court over genetically modified salmon.
Ecology Action Centre (EAC) and B.C-based Living Oceans Society have filed a lawsuit against the Environment Minister, Health Minister and AquaBounty Canada Inc., which is manufacturing the genetically modified salmon.
The manufacturer says its AquAdvantage salmon grows to market size faster than conventional salmon. The company would grow the eggs in PEI then transport them to Panama where they would grow to full size.
However, the Ecology Action Centre said the federal government violated its own legal obligations over the project.
“Our concern is basically, we don’t think they’ve done the due diligence to assess the toxicity of the eggs,” said Susanna Fuller, marine conservation coordinator with the EAC.
“There is no evidence that the ministers, as part of their Section 108 Toxicity Assessment, considered any data from a test conducted to determine AquAdvantage salmon’s pathogenicity, toxicity or invasiveness as required under paragraph 5(a) of Schedule 5 of the Regulations,” reads the notice of application.
Fuller is also concerned about the lack of public consultation.
“This is one part of our greater concern that the Canadian public hasn’t had any say in this approval. Canadians should be engaged and have much larger conversations about the production of genetically modified organisms, particularly animals.”
Fuller said the EAC is waiting for a response from the federal government over the lawsuit and hopes there will be a judicial review.
She also said this is the first genetically modified food animal in the world to go into production so the lawsuit could set a global precedent.
AquaBounty Canada sent the following response to Global News: “We are disappointed by the actions of these groups but we are confident that they will be shown to be without merit.”
Global News also reached out to Environment Canada for a comment and got the following statement: “As this is before the courts it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”