Genetically engineered salmon given FDA go-ahead
December 24, 2012
• Tentative approval is criticized
• “If these fish mix with wild salmon, the ecological harm could be devastating"
A draft environmental assessment finding that genetically engineered salmon pose no risk to the environment is being blasted by environmental groups.
The salmon is the first ever genetically engineered fish intended for human consumption in the U.S. Conservation groups want the government to complete a comprehensive environmental impact statement on the risks genetically engineered fish could present to the natural marine environment.
“FDA’s narrow analysis fails to seriously consider the risks these genetically engineered fish could pose to our natural environment,” says Earthjustice attorney Khushi Desai. “If these fish mix with wild salmon, the ecological harm could be devastating.”
AquaBounty Technologies Inc. of Maynard, Mass., which has developed the fish, says the fish would be farm raised, well away from natural water and that only females would be raised “mitigating any potential risk of a negative impact on genetic diversity of wild stocks.”
The company’s version of salmon mature earlier and weigh more than those in the wild, it says.
Among the groups opposing the FDA’s decision, Trout Unlimited says the decision is a “premature ‘green light’ for the eventual production of genetically engineered salmon for human consumption.”
“This genetically engineered fish puts the entire U.S. salmon industry at risk, and most importantly it could threaten the very survival of our native salmon populations,” cautions Ms. Desai.