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Islanders protest GM fish at aquaculture symposium

Mary Boyd, right, speaks during a small demonstration held in opposition to AquaBounty’s participation in a symposium being held in Charlottetown this week. AquaBounty, which created the world’s first genetically modified (GM) fish and has a facility in Rollo Bay, is the local partner of the eighth International Symposium on Aquatic Animal Health.
Mary Boyd, right, speaks during a small demonstration held in opposition to AquaBounty’s participation in a symposium being held in Charlottetown this week. AquaBounty, which created the world’s first genetically modified (GM) fish and has a facility in Rollo Bay, is the local partner of the eighth International Symposium on Aquatic Animal Health. - Mitch MacDonald

A group of Islanders is speaking out against AquaBounty’s participation in an international symposium being held on P.E.I. this week.

A small group held a demonstration outside the Delta Prince Edward against the company on the opening day of the International Symposium on Aquatic Animal Health, which runs in Charlottetown until Sept. 6.

AquaBounty, which created the world’s first genetically modified (GM) fish and has a facility in Rollo Bay, is the local partner of the symposium.

However, P.E.I. demonstrators said they do not consider the company to be local.
“It is not really a local business. It is owned by one of the richest Americans,” said Leo Broderick, referencing American biotech billionaire Randal J. Kirk. “Our message to (scientists at the symposium) is do not give any credence to AquaBounty and what it tries to tell you during the next four or five days. Islanders are opposed to having the genetically engineered salmon here in Prince Edward Island.

“This is the home of the GM frankenfish. The first in the world.”

Demonstrators also took issue with the fact that while GM salmon has been approved for consumption in Canada, there is no requirement that it be labelled.

“It’s pretty well ruined my taste for salmon because you don’t know what you’re eating anymore,” said Mary Boyd. “For us, its absolutely necessary that genetically modified salmon be labelled so we know what we’re getting.”

The group, which has requested the halt of GM fish production for several years, also called on federal and provincial government to stop supporting the company through any financial loans.

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