Voluntary public engagement initiative

Public engagement on the risk assessment of higher organisms under the New Substances program

Environment and Climate Change Canada and Health Canada are working together to promote more public engagement in the risk assessment of higher organisms (such as genetically modified plants and animals) under the New Substances (NS) program.

The NS program will publish summaries of higher organism notifications and invite stakeholders to share scientific information and test data related to potential risks to the environment or human health from the new living organisms. Information that could be shared to inform the risk assessment process, include:

  • environmental fate information
  • ecological effects information
  • human health effects information or
  • exposure information (including sources and routes of exposure)

Please provide information in English or French. Your information may be summarized and published in part or in full, along with your name and affiliation. Please be sure to identify any confidential business information so that it may be protected.

Include your name, affiliation, telephone number, e-mail and mailing address and use the following format in the title of your submission: Public Participation: [add New Substances Notification number(s)] – [add Substance Designation].

Active engagement initiative

Title: Notification for three ornamental aquarium fish that fluoresce

Notifier: GloFish LLC

New Substances Notification numbers: 20558, 20559 and 20560

Substance designation:

  • GloFish® Cosmic Pink® Betta (Betta splendens genetically modified)
  • GloFish® Sunburst Orange® Betta (Betta splendens genetically modified)
  • GloFish® Electric Green® Betta (Betta splendens genetically modified)

Start date of the assessment: February 4, 2021

Activity: Betta splendens (Regan 1910), commonly referred to as “Siamese fighting fish” or “betta”, are tropical aquarium fish that have been in the aquarium trade since the 1930s. The genetically modified lines that are the subject of the notification are also intended for use in home aquaria (ornamental trade). The green line has been sold in the United States since 2020. The pink and orange lines have recently been developed and are not yet available on the market.

Genetic modifications: All GloFish® lines of fluorescent aquarium fish have been genetically engineered to express fluorescent proteins isolated from common marine invertebrates including corals and sea anemones. The fluorescent proteins are well characterized and not toxic to fish, humans, and most other organisms. Expression of the genes encoding the fluorescent proteins are under the control of promoters isolated from fish.

Public comment period: March 25, 2021 to April 9, 2021

Where to send your submission  

Substances Management Information Line
Information Management and Data Collection
Science and Technology Branch
Environment and Climate Change Canada
Place Vincent Massey, 351 St. Joseph Blvd
Gatineau, QC, K1A 0H3
Telephone:  1-800-567-1999 (Toll Free in Canada)
Telephone:  1-819-938-3232 (Outside of Canada)
Facsimile: 1-819-938-5212
E-mail: eccc.substances.eccc@canada.ca

Comments can also be submitted to the NS program using the online reporting system available through Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Single Window.

Past engagement initiatives

Higher organisms Public comment period
Danio rerio genetically modified
  • GloFish® Cosmic Blue® Danio
  • GloFish® Galactic Purple® Danio
June 17, 2019 to July 2, 2019

Danio rerio genetically modified

  • GloFish® Sunburst Orange® Danio
April 15, 2019 to April 29, 2019
AquAdvantage® salmon September 14, 2018 to October 12, 2018
Gymnocorymbus ternetzi genetically modified
  • GloFish® Cosmic Blue® Tetra
  • GloFish® Sunburst Orange® Tetra and Long-Fin Sunburst Orange® Tetra
  • GloFish® Moonrise Pink® Tetra and Long-Fin Moonrise Pink® Tetra
  • GloFish® Galactic Purple® Tetra and Long-Fin Galactic Purple® Tetra
  • GloFish® Starfire Red® Tetra and Long-Fin Starfire Red® Tetra
July 12, 2018 to July 26, 2018
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