GM Salmon Company Exposed
The US company AquaBounty that grows genetically modified (GM or genetically engineered) salmon has experienced net losses and negative cash flows since its inception and its share price has recently tumbled. A former employee is now also alleging disturbing health and safety practices at AquaBounty’s US facility.
AquaBounty grows the world’s first GM food animal - a GM fast-growing Atlantic salmon – at two on-land facilities, in Prince Edward Island and Indiana, US. Most of the GM salmon is produced in Indiana: around 10% of the companies GM salmon sales revenue comes from PEI production. However, genetically modified salmon is not labelled for consumers in Canada.
AquaBounty's financial struggles
“I don’t think the market has yet fully valued us and our capabilities.” - David Frank, Chief Financial Officer, AquaBounty.
Allegations from AquaBounty whistleblower
Former AquaBounty employee, Braydon Humphrey, who worked for the company in Indiana from 2018-2020, recently leaked 113 photos and videos of troubling practices inside the US facility. His allegations of poor fish health, bad environmental practices, and dangerous working conditions were compiled by the US activist group Block Corporate Salmon:
AquaBounty claims their system is “designed to prevent escapement and impacts on the broader ecosystem” but photos show instances of containment breaches, fish escaping from tanks, and water flow and drainage practices in violation of US government regulation. The US facility regularly goes beyond Indiana government allowances for effluent discharges into the Mississinewa River.
Canadian government to review GM animal legislation
Meanwhile, the legislation that regulates genetically modified (genetically engineered or GE) animals is being revised. Bill S-5, an Act to amend the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA) has been sent to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development for review. In a positive move, the Senate of Canada, in reviewing Bill S-5 earlier this year, made 24 amendments to the Bill including on GE animals. "We are calling on the federal government and all MPs to support and strengthen the Senate amendments on GE animals," says Mark Butler, Senior Advisor with Nature Canada.
However, Environment and Climate Change Canada and Health Canada have also just launched a review of the CEPA regulations that conflicts with the timing of the CEPA legislation review. CBAN has requested an extension to the new “pre-consultation” that ends on December 5. Stay tuned for more details.
Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator
The Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) brings together 16 organizations to research, monitor and raise awareness about issues relating to genetic engineering in food and farming. CBAN members include farmer associations, environmental and social justice organizations, and regional coalitions of grassroots groups. CBAN is a project of MakeWay's shared platform.
Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN)
PO Box 25182, Clayton Park Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3M 4H4
Phone: 902 209 4906 www.cban.ca
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