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Timeline of Developments: AquaBounty’s genetically modified (GM) salmon in Canada

July 2017: Federal ministers confirmed that production of GM salmon at Rollo Bay in PEI would require a new notification under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act for the purposes of a scientific assessment.

June 19, 2017: The Government of PEI approved AquaBounty’s proposal to build the world’s first GM fish factory at their newly acquired facility at Rollo Bay. The company says it plans to grow 250 metric tonnes of GM fish in PEI every year.

April 12, 2017: AquaBounty submitted an “Amended Environmental Impact Statement” to the Government of PEI seeking approval to construct a facility for commercial production of GM salmon.

October 21, 2016: Federal Court of Appeal issued a decision upholding the 2015 Federal Court decision.

June 10, 2016: The Government of Prince Edward Island approved AquaBounty’s proposal to acquire and redevelop an aquaculture facility at Rollo Bay, PEI to rear conventional Atlantic Salmon broodstock for egg production purposes.

May 19 2016: AquaBounty submitted an Environmental Impact Statement to the Government of PEI for acquisition of an existing aquaculture site at Rollo Bay. The Statement says, “The proposed facility at Rollo Bay West will have no GMO salmon.“

May 19, 2016: Health Canada approved AquaBounty’s genetically modified Atlantic salmon for human consumption.

January 21, 2016: Ecojustice lawyers, acting on behalf of Ecology Action Centre and Living Oceans Society, filed an appeal at the Federal Court of Appeal to fight a ruling they said creates far too much uncertainty about the environmental risks of commercial grow-out of genetically-modified salmon.

December 22, 2015: Federal Court issued a decision that upheld the November 2013 Significant New Activity Notice but confirmed the applicants’ position that, despite the wording of that Notice, AquaBounty can only use or manufacture its GM salmon at its existing Souris, PEI facility. Otherwise it will need to submit a new Notification under section 106(1) of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (“CEPA”).

March 6, 2014: AquaBounty confirmed that it is seeking approval to sell GM salmon for human consumption in Canada.

December 23, 2013: Ecojustice lawyers filed a judicial review application, on behalf of Ecology Action Centre and Living Oceans Society, with the Federal Court asking the court to decide if the federal government violated its own law by permitting the manufacture of genetically modified salmon in Canada.

November 23, 2013: The Minister of Environment published a Significant New Activity Notice in the Canada Gazette, allowing the manufacture and production of GM fish and eggs in Canada.

April 30, 2013: AquaBounty filed a New Substances Notification under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act stating its intent to manufacture GM salmon eggs at its existing research facility near Souris, PEI and to export up to 100,000 of these eggs annually to be grown out in Panama. This Notification and the risk assessment that followed were not made public at the time.