Open Letter Regarding Genome-edited Fish in Indonesia

Following the announcement by Regional Fish, a Japanese company that develops and markets genome-edited red sea bream and genome-edited tiger pufferfish, that it will begin a demonstration of genome-edited seafood products in Indonesia, we sent the following letter of inquiry to the company.

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16 November 2022

To:

Regional Fish Co.

Mr. Tadanori Umekawa, President

From:

No! GMO Campaign

Representative Keisuke Amagasa

Consumers Union of Japan

Co-Chairperson: Ado Kameyama

Co-Chairperson Miyoko Sasaki

Co-Chairperson Martin Frid

Open letter of inquiry regarding the demonstration project of genome-edited fishery products in Indonesia

We are a consumer and citizens’ organization working for food safety and security.

In August 2022, your company, together with an Indonesian company PT Aruna Jaya Nuswantara (“ARUNA”), was selected for JETRO’s Asia DX Promotion Project in ASEAN-Japan and announced that it would start a demonstration project for genome-edited marine products in Indonesia with the JETRO grant. Although your company has developed genome-edited red sea bream and genome-edited tiger puffer fish and already marketed them in Japan, we, consumers, have strong concerns about these genome-edited foods and genome-editing technology. As Japanese consumers, we cannot overlook the fact that your company is promoting such genome-edited foods in Indonesia.

Therefore, we ask the following questions. Please respond in writing or by e-mail by 2 December. We will publish your response, including whether or not we have received your answer, on our website and elsewhere.

The following is a list of the questions we will ask:

1. According to your press release dated 26 August 2022, Indonesia is in the process of considering the establishment of rules for genome-edited food products.

2Please tell us the background of your decision to conduct the demonstration project for genome-edited marine products with ARUNA.

3. According to the above press release, your company is planning to collaborate with Indonesian government agencies and regulatory authorities to develop practical rules. Please provide specific details about this collaboration.

4. According to the same press release, you are aiming to develop high-growth tilapia (Tilapia) and edible portion-increasing snapper (Red Snapper) in a short period of time using genome editing technology. When will these demonstration projects start and what is the current progress of the projects?

5. Where in Indonesia will the demonstration projects be conducted? Please provide the name of the location.

6. Will the demonstration of genome-edited fish be conducted through land-based aquaculture or offshore aquaculture?

7. If land-based aquaculture, which method do you plan to use?

8. Will you conduct biodiversity impact assessments regardless of whether the fish are farmed on land or at sea?

9. Do you intend to sell the genome-edited marine products developed in this project only within Indonesia? Or do you plan to export them to other countries including Japan?

Japanese letter here