PEI groups call for public hearings on proposed GM salmon factory

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Earth Action, Council of Canadians – PEI Chapter, Mackillop Centre for Social Justice

Media Release, 11 May 2017

Millvale – Some PEI organizations have written to Premier Wade MacLauchlan calling on government to hold Island-wide public hearings on a proposed factory in Rollo Bay that would produce the world’s first genetically modified (GM) animal for human consumption.

AquaBounty, the American company with a research facility in Bay Fortune, has been researching genetically modified Atlantic salmon at that location since the 1990s. After decades of trying, the company finally received approval in Canada and the U.S. for the sale of GM Atlantic salmon for human consumption.

AquaBounty has always stated that its GM fish eggs would be produced in PEI, shipped to Panama for grow out and processing.

Earth Action, Council of Canadians – PEI Chapter and Mackillop Centre for Social Justice said AquaBounty’s surprise new plan to produce both GM eggs and GM fish in PEI is completely different from the proposal approved by the province last year to produce only non-GM salmon in Rollo Bay.

“Out of the blue, AquaBounty wants approval to radically change the purpose of the facility. Islanders only have the opportunity to comment, by May 15, on a highly technical environmental impact statement before government makes a decision,” said Sharon Labchuk, Earth Action coordinator.

The groups said most Islanders would not have the technical expertise to critique AquaBounty’s environmental impact statement and the province doesn’t offer intervener funding for the public to hire experts.

“We think this process is wrong and completely inadequate given AquaBounty’s radical change in plans for the Rollo Bay facility and the potential implications for PEI, so we’ve asked the premier to slow it down and give Islanders the opportunity to discuss at public hearings whether this development is good for the province.”

“The proposal to locate a GM fish factory in PEI is more than just a run-of-the-mill business proposition,” said Leo Broderick, representing the Council of Canadians – PEI Chapter. “People all around the world are monitoring this unexpected situation in PEI. Islanders have many concerns and questions, aside from the environmental impact of the fish factory, that need to be discussed, including potentially serious economic impacts.”

Contact: Sharon Labchuk 902-626-7327; Leo Broderick 902-894-4874