First genetically modified fish patented in EU

On 17 July 2001 the European Patent Office granted Seabright (now renamed ‘Genesis’) a patent concerning the use of growth hormone genetic modification technology for salmon and other fish. The patent application mentions experiments leading to salmons eight times bigger than normal salmon.

In an article written in 1997,
Dr. Garth Fletcher states that "given the rapid
decline in world fish stocks, caused mainly by over fishing, it is
clear that demand can only be met by aquaculture." Dr. Fletcher is
president of A/F Protein Canada Inc. Seabright recently licensed
its patent to related company A/F Protein.

Greenpeace opposes all kinds of patents on living
beings and has repeatedly taken action against genetically modified
fish. It states "the granting of this patent encourages the
development and commercialisation of 'monster' Salmon and any
future genetically modified fish carrying the growth hormone
gene."

 

Seabright filed for the patent in March 1992. The invention
relates to transgenic fish and all other fish species carrying an
additional gene for faster growth.

So far only a few Member States have implemented
the EU Directive on the legal protection of biotechnological
inventions, which allows for such kinds of patents. The European
Patent Office (a non- EU body) implemented the directive in June
1999.

 

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