Share your thoughts: Participate in the risk assessment process for the GloFish rainbow sharks
Current status: Open
From November 13 to December 13, 2023, the New Substances program is seeking comments, including scientific information and test data that could inform the risk assessment process for the GloFish® rainbow sharks as part of the Consultations on certain living organisms new to Canada.
The New Substances program, jointly administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada and Health Canada, is currently evaluating the GloFish® rainbow sharks, notified by Spectrum Brands Canada, on October 3, 2023.
These ornamental fish are domesticated Epalzeorhynchos frenatum, commonly referred to as “Rainbow Sharks”, that have been genetically engineered to produce unique colours and fluorescence for use in home aquaria. The unmodified Rainbow Shark has been commercially cultured in the United States since the mid-1970s. All 4 GloFish® lines have been available in the USA since 2018. To develop the lines of fluorescent blue, green, purple and orange colours using fluorescent proteins, a domesticated albino Rainbow Shark was used as founder.
All 4 lines of GloFish® Rainbow Shark have been modified to express different fluorescent proteins that were derived from natural marine organisms such as jellyfish, corals and anemones, giving each GloFish® Rainbow Shark their corresponding colour. The Cosmic Blue® Shark contains multiple copies of genetic constructs expressing a blue fluorescent protein and a chromoprotein. The Electric Green® Shark contains multiple copies of a genetic construct expressing a green fluorescent protein. The Sunburst Orange® Shark contains multiple copies of a genetic construct expressing an orange fluorescent protein. The Galactic Purple® Shark contains multiple copies of a genetic construct expressing a purple fluorescent protein.
The inserted genetic constructs and expressed fluorescent proteins are not known to be toxic to either humans or animals. The safety of these fluorescent proteins has been discussed broadly and no cytotoxic or adverse effects have been identified. The majority of these fluorescent proteins have been used in GloFish® species since their introduction to commercial markets in 2005 without any reports of adverse effects.
These fish are developed only for aquarium display and are not for human or animal consumption or to be released to the environment. Rainbow Sharks are native to tropical countries and their ability to survive in the Canadian environment, including cold winter temperatures, will be considered as part of the formal risk assessment. The genetic modifications are not expected to confer any advantage of surviving in Canadian water bodies.
Join in: how to participate
All interested parties are invited to provide comments, including scientific information and test data related to potential risks to the environment or human health from the GloFish® rainbow sharks. This information will be considered as part of the departments’ assessment of the organism’s potential risks to the environment or human health, which is ongoing.
Send your comments to the address in the Contact us section below.
Submit your comments by email: email@example.com
Review our privacy statement for this consultation.
Who is the focus of this consultation
We would like to hear from:
- Indigenous peoples
- provincial, territorial and local governments
- industry stakeholders and association members
- non-governmental organizations
- general public
Key questions for discussion
All people in Canada are invited to provide comments, including scientific information and test data that could inform the risk assessment process. Information that may inform the risk assessment process could include:
- environmental fate information
- ecological effects information
- human health effects information or
- exposure information (including sources and routes of exposure)
Telephone: 1-800-567-1999 (Toll Free in Canada) or 1-819-938-3232 (Outside of Canada)
- Date modified: