Authorities confirm Practical Fishkeeping GM fish story

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British authorities have confirmed that the Red danios Practical Fishkeeping claimed were transgenic fish are genetically modified to fluoresce.

Following a report by Practical Fishkeeping, the GM Inspectorate and the Fish Health Inspectorate issued a notice on March 5 2007 warning fish importers and retailers that Red danios on sale may have been genetically modified and made illegally available for sale.

It asked importers and retailers not to trade in coloured danios pending the results of its investigations.

Last month Practical Fishkeeping reported that one reader had obtained illegally some of the fish from a retailer in southern England and bred the fish at home. The offspring had the same pink fluorescent pigment seen in their parents, indicating that the fish were transgenic and not dyed or colour fed.

YouTube footage showing GM danios spawning in an aquarium.

Tests undertaken on the fish by the Central Science Laboratory have confirmed Practical Fishkeeping's report that the fish are genetically modified to express genes for red fluorescent protein and green fluorescent protein. It says the fish were on sale in the UK under the name Coral pink danio.

Sarah Hugo, the Head of the UK's GM Inspectorate said: "This finding is consistent with reports from authorities in Holland and Germany who also recently confirmed the presence of genetically modified danios in their ornamental fish trade.

"It is an offence for any person to import or acquire, release or market any genetically modified (GM) organisms within Great Britain without the consent of the Secretary of State, the Welsh Assembly Government or the Scottish Executive, provided under Article 111 of The Environmental Protection Act 1990."

The GM Inspectorate has confirmed that no GM fish have been authorised in Europe or Great Britain, therefore anyone who knowingly imports, acquires or markets the fish is committing a criminal offence.

Hugo said that importers and retailers must not market or obtain any fish meeting the description of Coral pink danio, or any similar sounding name, unless they are certain that the fish are not genetically modified.

"Monitoring activities are now in place and any fish suspected to be genetically modified will be seized", added Hugo.

"Anyone appearing to breach these requirements may be prosecuted. Anyone who believes they have taken possession of genetically modified fish, or requires further information, or is able to furnish additional information on the availability should contact either the GM Inspectorate on 01904 462 223 or email [email protected], or the Fish Health Inspectorate at CEFAS Weymouth on 01305 206 673/4 or email [email protected]"

The fish on sale in the UK are not GloFish.