Biosafety Agency reviews national guideline on Genetically Modified fish

The National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) has reviewed its national guideline on Genetically Modified (GM) fish for human and environment safety.

Speaking at a two-day stakeholders’ workshop, the Director-General of NBMA, Dr Rufus Ebegba, said the review of the genetically modified fish was another document that would help protect the environment and health of people.

“The review of the guidelines on genetically modified fish is another document that will help or guide, particularly those who will be releasing GM fish into our environment.

“One of the reason why we should have guidelines on GM fish is that biosafety is the measure and processes to ensure that the application of modern biotechnology and the use of its product GM organism are safe in our environment and on human health.

“Meanwhile, GM fish has not been as such in a commercial level, particular in Africa,” he said.

According to him, the guideline is also to ensure that harmful manifestation is avoided at all cost to ensure that any GM fish that will be released into Nigeria environment or gone into the market is safe.

“You must also understand that the GM organism is not only from the international environment but also in our research institutes, universities and other industrial sectors.

“So the essence is to have the general guideline, with GM fish so that such fish will not have any toxic or allergy and will not be a problem on the environment,’’ he said.

Abegba said the agency would ensure that the guideline worked accordingly by ensuring that no GM fish would have any negative impact as required by national and international standards.

According to him, the essence of the workshop is for the stakeholders to look at the document holistically and follow the process so as to provide an acceptable document.

The director-general, however, said the workshop also aimed at exchanging ideas and knowledge with the stakeholders to ensure that the guideline was achieved effectively.

He said that the document would be reviewed from time to time, as well as to ensure that it was implemented, monitored for enforcement and compliance.

Mr Ademola Yakubu of the Nigeria Institute of Management Research said the review of the guideline on GM fish was very vital to ensure safety of human beings, environment, water and improve food security in the country.

Yakubu commended the agency on its effort in ensuring that the GM fish national guideline was reviewed, adding that the commitment would improve the biosafety system in the country. 

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