Food and Technology Blog

Halifax and a potential ban on genetically modified salmon

Posted Oct. 27, 2011 / Posted by: Eric Hoffman

Day three on the road, and things aren’t slowing down one bit! Yesterday we received news that the official opposition party here, the New Democratic Party, introduced a motion in the Canadian Parliament that would ban the introduction of genetically engineered salmon into the Canadian food supply.

The motion, introduced by Fin Donnelly, reads:

That, in the opinion of the House, the government should immediately: (a) provide greater regulatory clarity by identifying which government departments are responsible for the regulation of genetically modified salmon and other transgenic aquatic organisms; (b) prevent the introduction into the Canadian food system of genetically modified salmon destined for human consumption until further scientific studies are concluded by the relevant departments to determine the impact of genetically modified salmon on human health and on the health of marine species, ecosystems and habitats; and (c) direct the departments responsible for the regulation of genetically modified salmon to establish a practice of notifying the Canadian public of all requests and approvals and of any information and findings regarding genetically modified salmon and salmon eggs.

While it's not expected to pass, this motion is extremely symbolic. It’ll help the Canadian public push forward in the fight to protect their wild fisheries, their ecosystems and their food sovereignty.

Traveling across Atlantic Canada and talking to community members about their thoughts, concerns and even their support of genetically engineered salmon has been insightful and invaluable. We’ve been fortunate enough to speak with experts about their local environments, ecosystems and fish populations, and to connect with the people who may be most impacted by approval of genetically engineered salmon.

The trip has also been a lesson in humility. While it has been important to bring a U.S. perspective to the campaigns in Canada, it has been even more of a learning experience to provide a space for community members to speak, to raise their concerns, and to connect with neighbors through our public forums. Our event in Halifax last night was our most attended panel yet – it was standing room only, with about 70 people in the audience!

Here is a quick video testimonial from Matt Abbott, from Fundy Bay Keepers, explaining why they are working with us to fight genetically engineered salmon here in Canada.

Until tomorrow,
Eric

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