Canada approves production of genetically modified salmon

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Environment and Climate Change Canada gives AquaBounty greenlight for country’s first commercial production. First harvest of AquAdvantage Salmon is now estimated for Q4 2020.

First, it was the US, when the FDA cleared a path for genetically engineered salmon, allowing for AquaAdvantage salmon eggs to be imported to the company’s land-based facility in Indiana.

Now Canada’s federal authorities at Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) have approved the company’s Rollo Bay production facility in Prince Edward Island, Canada, for the commercial manufacture and grow-out of AquAdvantage Salmon.

The biotech firm can grow land-based salmon to market size in about half the time grew by nearly 120 per cent.

In a press release on Tuesday, the GM salmon farmer wrote that after an extensive and thorough evaluation, the ECCC approved the production of AquAdvantage Salmon at the site based on the physical, biological, and operational measures in place or planned at the Rollo Bay facility.

AquaBounty will begin stocking the Rollo Bay production facility as soon as possible, with the first harvest of AquAdvantage Salmon estimated for Q4 2020. This is similar to the timing of the first harvest at the Company’s production facility in Albany, Indiana.

This announcement by ECCC, which came to the same conclusion as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration after assessing the company’s Albany, Indiana, land-based production facility, is the fifth regulatory determination of environmental safety after similar findings in the U.S., Argentina, Brazil, and China. The latter three countries reviewed the potential environmental impacts before approving trials.

AquaBounty CEO Sylvia Wulf stated: “We are pleased that Environment and Climate Change Canada has determined that AquAdvantage Salmon is safe to produce in our Rollo Bay production facility. We take biosecurity and sustainability seriously, and our state-of-the-art recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) design includes multiple and redundant physical barriers to escape. With this final regulatory approval now obtained, we anticipate hiring more people from the community on Prince Edward Island to ramp up commercial production of our salmon, joining our current staff of 25. I appreciate their dedication and perseverance in enabling the Company to reach this significant milestone.”