Ecojustice Blog – Nature Posted on October 18, 2016 (updated: June 19, 2020)

We’re in court today fighting for Canada’s endangered wild Atlantic salmon

Devon PageLawyer
Atlantic salmon

We’ve had salmon protection on the brain for the last two weeks. And for good reason!

You might recall that last week we launched a case to protect wild salmon on the Pacific coast. Today, Ecojustice lawyers are back in court trying to protect wild salmon in the Atlantic.

Like Pacific wild salmon, we know that wild Atlantic salmon populations in Canada face a myriad of threats to their survival.  But, we’re fairly certain that you wouldn’t have guessed that a genetically-modified invasive species was one of them.

This is not a Halloween prank. AquaBounty creates its AquAdvantage salmon by taking genetic material from Chinook salmon and the eel-like ocean pout and inserts it into Atlantic salmon eggs. If wasn’t scary enough, if this genetically-modified organism were to escape and breed with wild salmon, the impacts could be irreversible.

That’s why when the Federal Court handed down a ruling last December that upheld the government’s approval to produce genetically-modified salmon in P.E.I., we were disappointed — but determined to fight back.

Working on behalf of Ecology Action Centre and Living Oceans Society, we’ll be bringing our ‘A’ game to the Federal Court of Appeal in an effort to defend wild Atlantic salmon and force the government to take a precautionary approach to decision-making about genetically-modified organisms.

The risks are too high, and wild salmon too important to Canadian communities to let decisions that affect their future hinge on an “Act now, think later” approach.

These salmon will be the world’s first genetically-modified food animal to go into production. It is critical that the government’s assessment of their potential environmental impacts be done in a comprehensive, science-based, and precautionary manner.

We were always taught to look before you leap.  In this situation — and so many others — doesn’t it just make good, common sense?

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