Scottish Political Press Releases — Fish Experiments

Green MSP slams GM fish experiments

Press release issued by the Scottish Green Party, 29 July 1999


Scottish Green Party MSP Robin Harper today commented on the admission by Secretary of State for Scotland, John Reid, in a Commons written reply, that a genetically engineered salmon had been trialed at a Scottish fish farm.

Robin Harper said:

'Unlike the experiments going on right now with genetically modified crops which have already been let loose in the countryside, at least the dangers of GM salmon were realised and these fish were contained in tanks. However, we should be extremely concerned about genetically modified fish because of the danger that they could escape into the wild.

'It's a similar, if not even more dangerous threat, to that we are facing with GM plants. If a GM fish escaped or was released accidentally in to the wild it could never be recaptured. This fish could breed with wild populations and devastate the existing natural balance with its modified behaviour.

'There can be no doubt as to the huge threat GM fish would be to fish stocks wherever they were released in the World's oceans. This fish if it escaped into the North Atlantic could do untold damage to the ecology both of the north Atlantic and Scottish salmon rivers.

'A big problem now is the knowledge that this technology is available and is in the public domain. Someone else may be tempted to use this technology indiscriminately. Experiments on genetically modifying fish should never have taken place and should not be allowed in future. There must be a world-wide agreement that this particular line of enquiry should be declared a dead-end.

'Scottish producers could lead the World in quality not quantity, the way forward for Scotland is organic salmon not GM salmon.'

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