HL Deb 11 October 1999 vol 605 c20WA
Lord Mason of Barnsley

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What experiments have been conducted on genetically modified Atlantic salmon; where these experiments were carried out, and over what period of time; what were the results of the experiments; and whether the results will be published. [HL4052]

Lord Bassam of Brighton

Between January 1996 and March 1998, genetically modified Atlantic salmon were produced by the micro-manipulation and injection of a DNA construct into salmon eggs. The eggs were then hatched and reared. This falls within the definition of a regulated procedure under the terms of the Animal (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.

No subsequent regulated procedures were carried out on the animals, and there was no attempt to breed or maintain the homozygous brood stock. All the remaining stock was destroyed in March 1998.

The fish were kept in land-based tanks with appropriate filtration systems to prevent the escape of any genetically modified eggs or fry.

We understand that no significant welfare problems were encountered, but that some of the fish resulting from manipulated eggs grew at four times the normal growth rate. The decision on whether to publish results is for the establishment itself. Some information has appeared in newspapers and aquaculture publications, but I understand that scientific publication of detailed results is not expected.

I cannot give details of where the procedures were carried out as this information was provided in confidence and cannot, therefore, be disclosed under the terms of Section 24 of the 1986 Act. I can, however, confirm that the procedures were carried out in Scotland.