Fight­ing the fish

A group of ac­tivists meets with En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Robert Mitchell about ap­proval for GMO salmon AquaBounty fa­cil­ity in Rollo Bay

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY RYAN ROSS

The P.E.I. gov­ern­ment has given en­vi­ron­men­tal ap­proval to a ge­net­i­cally mod­i­fied salmon fa­cil­ity, but it could still take steps to stop pro­duc­tion, says a lo­cal en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist.

Sharon Labchuk, a co-or­di­na­tor with en­vi­ron­men­tal group Earth Ac­tion, said the peo­ple who at­tended the meet­ing told En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Robert Mitchell as much dur­ing a meet­ing with him on July 11.

“The prov­ince has author­ity through var­i­ous reg­u­la­tions and the law to make de­ci­sions that could im­pact AquaBounty’s plans for its fish fac­tory,” she said.

In June, the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment ap­proved AquaBounty Canada Inc.’s ap­pli­ca­tion to ex­pand its fa­cil­ity in Rollo Bay where it will grow ge­net­i­cally mod­i­fied salmon.

Labchuk, Mary Boyd, who is with the Mackil­lop Cen­tre for So­cial Jus­tice, and Tony Red­din with the Coun­cil of Cana­di­ans met with Mitchell to dis­cuss the re­cent en­vi­ron­men­tal ap­proval.

An at­tempt to reach Mitchell for an in­ter­view about the meet­ing was un­suc­cess­ful, but a spokes­woman for his depart­ment sent a state­ment con­firm­ing with met with the group.

“I clar­i­fied that the fed­eral gov­ern­ment has ju­ris­dic­tion over GMOs and I as­sured the group that the role of my depart­ment was to over­see the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact as­sess­ment that in­cludes such things as ground­wa­ter and waste­water as­sess­ments,” Mitchell said in the state­ment.

RYAN ROSS/THE GUARDIAN

Ac­tivists Sharon Labchuk, left, Tony Red­din and Mary Boyd gather for a photo after meet­ing with En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Robert Mitchell in Char­lot­te­town this week.

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