CFIA says genetically modified salmon from P.E.I is ready for sale, but not yet available

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says genetically modified salmon produced in Prince Edward Island is “available for sale” in Canada, but when and where consumers can purchase the food remains unclear.

The agency’s Marie Terrien confirmed in an email on Oct. 13 that the fish, produced by U.S.-owned AquaBounty, can be sold in Canada, adding that it was up to the company to say whether its products were on supermarket fish counters or in restaurants.

The salmon from AquaBounty’s facilities in P.E.I. would be the first genetically modified salmon produced in Canada to be available for sale in the country.

“Following a multi-year assessment by Health Canada, AquAdvantage salmon, a genetically engineered Atlantic salmon developed by AquaBounty, is now available for sale in Canada,” wrote Terrien.

In an email on Oct. 13, AquaBounty declined a request for an interview about the status of salmon raised at its indoor facility in Rollo Bay, P.E.I., saying its chief executive is unavailable “for the next few weeks due to meetings and travel schedule.”

Spokesman John Curtis referred The Canadian Press to investor updates on the company’s website. According to a report to AquaBounty investors in May, the first batch of P.E.I.-grown salmon was to be available by the end of June. However, a September investors report shifted the predicted harvest of the first Rollo Bay salmon to between July 1 and the end of this year.

The company’s Atlantic salmon is injected with DNA from other fish species that makes them grow faster, with some estimates indicating they will reach market size at twice the speed of unmodified salmon. Terrien said the company’s salmon have been evaluated by Health Canada and can be sold in the country without any labelling.