Nature Canada

Is Genetically Engineered Atlantic Salmon in a Store Near You?

If you eat salmon you might be eating genetically engineered salmon.

On October 14, the Canadian Press and CBC reported that the world’s first genetically engineered food animal, an Atlantic salmon containing genetic material from two other species, could now be in stores and restaurants.

AquaBounty, a US company with operations in PEI, would neither confirm nor deny that the engineered salmon may be on the Canadian market. Unlike many other countries, Canada has, up until now, not required the labeling of genetically engineered food.  

Canadians have a range of reasons for not wanting to eat engineered salmon, says Mark Butler, Senior Advisor with Nature Canada.’ I don’t want to eat GE salmon because of the risk it poses to wild salmon in Atlantic Canada.’

Nature Canada is concerned that over time the fish could escape and breed with wild salmon, a risk identified by government scientists in 2013 and 2019

People want to know what they are eating. Polling shows that a strong majority of Canadians believe that genetically engineered foods should be labelled.

The Issue at Hand 

Once a genetically engineered organism successfully reproduces with a wild counterpart, these new genes will spread throughout the population — increasing over time and changing nature forever.

In Canada, at-risk populations of Atlantic Salmon could be outcompeted for food, or if interbreeding were to occur, be fundamentally changed. Ultimately, impacting the livelihoods of hundreds of Canadians and irreversibly disrupting ecosystems.

What we’re doing to help

Nature Canada brought together Indigenous Peoples, scientists, anglers, and conservationists to develop recommended changes to CEPA to keep wild species wild. We are actively working to ensure these recommendations, such as improved public transparency and alignment with Indigenous rights, make it into the Act.

Stay up to date, visit our campaign page to subscribe for updates and learn more about what we’re doing to protect wild salmon in Canada. 

Want to Help?

Canada’s wilderness is the world’s envy. It’s our duty to keep our true north strong and green.