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NZ only country to back GE salmon

New Zealand is the only country in the International Salmon Farmers Association to back genetically engineered salmon, Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said today.

"I have just discovered that several weeks ago, a non-binding resolution to oppose genetically engineered farmed salmon was confirmed by the international association," she said. "This resolution had been supported by all other member nations, but voted against by New Zealand. I am concerned about the marketing message that this portrays."

Ms Fitzsimons said the parliamentary library had received the following note from the international association in response to queries about New Zealand's stance on genetically engineered salmon:

"In September 1996 the International Salmon Farmers Association ( ISFA) at a meeting in Galway, Ireland adopted a resolution that maintained that member nations of the ISFA did NOT become involved in the Genetic Manipulation of farmed salmon. This resolution was supported by all member nations other than New Zealand who voted against the resolution. "It was further agreed at a meeting of ISFA in Trondheim, Norway in August 1999 that this resolution remain active policy for all ISFA members. "For your guidance, membership of ISFA includes the following nations, Australia,Canada, Chile, Faroe Islands,Iceland, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway and Scotland. The collective farmed salmon production of these nations exceeds 600,000 tonnes per annum.

"I trust this assists you in this matter."

"Peter Shelley

Executive Director

International Salmon Farmers Association.

According to Ms Fitzsimons: "Farmed salmon regularly escape into the wild and now form a significant part of wild stocks around the world. Concern about the risks to wild salmon and to ocean and river ecosystems from super-fast-growing GE salmon has led all other countries to say, `We won't do it if you won't'. But not New Zealand. Given the public reaction to meat and milk grown with excess growth hormone, it is hard to see who is going to want to buy salmon containing these extra genes.

"Salmon are migratory fish and I know that in Canada and in Scotland, where scientists are also persisting with GE salmon research, deep concern has been expressed about the possibility of genetically engineered salmon polluting wild stocks. It is puzzling why New Zealand continues genetic engineering work on salmon in the South Island, when all the signs are that we should be promoting our country, and our food, as environmentally friendly."


ends

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