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King Salmon Must Stop Its GE Programme

The Nelson-Marlborough based firm King Salmon should stop its genetic engineering programme pending an enquiry rather than persist with it, Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said today.

Today the Environmental Risk Management Authority is issuing a decision to reassess the containment and disposal arrangements of the company's research.

This follows the leaking of documents about King Salmon earlier this year to the Green Party. The papers, written by the public relations firm Communications Trumps, urged King Salmon to keep the genetic engineering secret saying, "issues such as deformities, lumps on heads etc should not be mentioned at any point to anyone outside'.

"I am deeply concerned that King Salmon appears to be determined to go ahead with this risky research despite its sister project in Scotland ending because of environmental dangers and public health concerns," Ms Fitzsimons said.

On July 29, 1999 British newspapers reported Secretary of State for Scotland, Dr John Reid, saying a genetic engineering trial on salmon finished three years ago and all fish were destroyed. He was responding to concern that g-e fish may have escaped into the north Atlantic environment. Dr Reid announced that scientists had created Britain's first genetically-modified fish through a series of previously little known experiments and the fish grew at four times their normal rate.

"We still do not know the risks at the Kaituna Hatchery near Blenheim as there have been no public hearings on the project," Ms Fitzsimons said. "Rather than a government agency starting a long review process, King Salmon should be officially asked to stop this work pending a proper Royal commission of enquiry into genetic engineering generally, including this type of research ."


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