AQUABOUNTY Technologies Inc., a biotechnology company focused on enhancing productivity in the aquaculture market, recently announced that Environment Canada, which has responsibility for regulating environmental policies and issues in Canada, has decided that AquAdvantage Salmon (AAS) is not harmful to the environment or human health when produced in contained facilities.
The publication of the significant new activity notice (http://gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p1/2013/2013-11-23/html/notice-avis-eng.html#d106) recognizes that the AquaBounty hatchery, which produces sterile, all-female eggs, no longer has to be solely a research facility but can produce eggs on a commercial scale without harm to the environment or human health, the announcement said.
"We are pleased to note that, after a rigorous examination of our hatchery facility and the standard operating procedures used to produce AAS eggs, Environment Canada is satisfied that we can responsibly produce our sterile, all-female eggs on a commercial scale," AquaBounty chief executive officer Ron Stotish said. "This is a significant milestone in our efforts to make (AAS) available for commercial production. However, our eggs and fish will not be available for sale until they are approved by the relevant national regulatory bodies. When these approvals are in place, we look forward to demonstrating the value of AAS for a land-based and environmentally sustainable production system."
AquaBounty said Environment Canada made its conclusion following a risk assessment conducted by Fisheries & Oceans Canada involving a panel of independent scientific experts who are knowledgeable in the fields of transgenics and fish containment technology.
AquaBounty's objective is the application of biotechnology to ensure the availability of high-quality seafood to meet global demand. The company is developing products to address critical production constraints in the most popular farmed fish species, beginning with salmon, trout and tilapia.
Its AAS program is based on a single, specific molecular modification that results in more rapid growth in early development. The company plans on rearing its AAS fish in containment tanks in Panama.