IMG 7704

The DOST Biosafety Committee, during its 114th monthly meeting, initiated the creation of a Technical Working Group, for the development of guidelines for Genetically Modified Fish upon recognizing the need to have a regulation in place in anticipation of the entry of GM Fish. The query from the BFAR on the possible entry of GM fish for R&D prompted the Committee to take steps to put up a system to address the concerns on GM Fish.

Genetically Modified fish’ introduction to aquaculture for consumption in the US, particularly Canada, had raised major concerns. Some critics expressed their objections stating concerns on its effect to the environment and the wild types. Some also believed that GM fish could further upset the ocean’s delicate ecology which could lead to ecological disruption or even extinction of the species. Despite all that, the potential benefits of this new technology are unarguable as GM fish promise a considerable increase production to compensate with the ever-growing demand.

The Technical Working Group (TWG) will be composed of experts in the field of fisheries, marine and environmental sciences and biosafety including representatives from concerned agencies in regulating GMOs namely: Department of Science and Technology, Department of Agriculture, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and the Department of Health.

Regular meetings, workshops and write-shops, and review of National Policies and International Laws related to the use of Genetically Modified Organisms will be done to be able to devise rules and regulations for the research and development, handling and use, transboundary movement, release into the environment, and management of GM fish and fish products derived from the use of modern biotechnology, which will be put forward for consideration by the National Committee on Biosafety of the Philippines.

At present, the country has no existing policy on GM fish yet, and the DOST Biosafety Committee, pursuant to its mandate on ensuring that the best available science is adopted in assessing proposals to minimize risks posed by GMOs to the environment, animal, and human health, identified the need for functional regulatory policies in preparation for this biotechnology breakthrough.