Dear PEI Government: If Aquabounty Comes Knocking – Don’t Answer!
You never hear a peep about Aquabounty if you live in PEI. But PEI gets mentioned a lot in places around the Globe as the incubator for the world’s first “marketable” genetically-modified animal – a salmon. It’s actually made us quite famous…in a transylvania kind of way.
Islanders were never given a say about growing genetically-modified animals in PEI. Nor were we consulted when the American Billionaire – Randall J Kirk – received money from the PEI Government. Kirk owns 64% of the shares in Aquabounty and has controlling interest.
I published an article titled “Aquabounty Swims to the Bottom” on December 4, 2017 with very concerning financial information about how Aquabounty’s stock share price had plummeted from over $30 a share to around $4. [FYI – The stock closed on Friday at $2.25 a share.] In that article, I asked that no more loans or grants be provided Aquabounty given it’s very risky financial status:
In a May, 2017 article titled “PEI Must Say No to GE Salmon” I offered some background on the corporate structure and money behind Aquabounty:
“AquaBounty’s parent company is Intrexon, controlled by American bio-tech billionaire Randal J. Kirk (Forbes puts his worth at $4.1 billion). Intrexon is the majority owner of AquaBounty, and Kirk personally owns 60% of Intrexon. Intrexon holds patents on GE mice, rats, monkeys chimpanzees, cattle, goats, pigs and sheep; owns numerous companies cloning livestock (and pets); recently purchased UK-based Oxitec (which produces genetically-engineered insects) and Okanagan Specialty Fruits (which developed the GE “Arctic” apple).”
Why I’m bringing this up again now
Earlier this morning I came across an article titled, “Will GM salmon ever pay off for AquaBounty?” published by Intrafish. Things aren’t looking very rosy for the company, despite Canada granting approval for Aquabounty to grow GE Fish to market in PEI: See “Health Canada Approves GE Salmon.”
Aquabounty got what it wanted in the decision – some GE products need to be labelled as “Genetically-engineered” in Canada, but Health Canada decided that Aquabounty’s GE Salmon wouldn’t be one of them:
“Health Canada requires labelling for food products, including genetically modified foods, where clear, scientifically established health risks or significant changes to the nutritional qualities of the food have been identified and can be mitigated through labelling,” concludes the agency. “In this case, given that no health and safety concerns were identified, there are no special labeling requirements for AquAdvantage Salmon.” See Health Canada News Release, May 19, 2016.”
Labelling is required in the United States. [See: “GMO products to be Labelled in the United States.”]
In September, 2019, the US Department of Agriculture awarded $494,000 to AquaBounty to study technologies that would make their genetically engineered Atlantic salmon sterile. This is interesting, given that when the Salmon was approved in 2016 the claim was being made that the salmon were sterile. Many see the grant as a “bailout” given Aquabounty’s dire financial situation. [See: “USDA Bails Out AquaBounty for Genetically Modified Salmon“].
Read what the Intrafish article says about the current financial state of Aquabounty:
“As of Sept. 30, AquaBounty’s cash balance totaled $6.4 million (€5.8 million). According to the financial report, currently, the company does not have sufficient capital to continue its operations after the first six months of 2020.”
The article went on to quote from Aquabounty’s recently released Third Quarter Report:
“If we are unable to generate additional funds through financing, sales of our products, government grants, loans or from other sources or transactions, we would exhaust our resources and be unable to maintain our currently planned operations and continue as a going concern,” the report said.
So, to wrap up, a short letter to the leaders of the three political parties forming the current Minority Government:
DON’T GIVE ANOTHER PENNY OF PEI TAXPAYER’S MONEY TO AQUABOUNTY!