AquaBounty issues robust defence of its genetic salmon project – Fishfarmer Magazine

AquaBounty issues robust defence of its genetic salmon project29 July, 2011 –

AquaBounty Technologies, the company behind the potentially ground breaking development of genetic salmon in the United States, has issued a robust defence of its strategy following criticism recently by a group of US senators who said it should not be allowed to reach the dinner tables of consumers.

AquaBounty Technologies has always maintained that  it is perfectly safe for human consumption and could become a vital future source of healthy protein in an ever hungry world.

Its  development already has qualified approval from the US Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) which last year ordered a public consultation. Called AquaAdvantage Atlantic Salmon, it contains a growth-hormone gene from another salmon that helps it grow twice as fast as conventional farmed fish,  but like many new developments in the food industry it has become the subject of scare stories.

AquaBounty Technologies CEO Ronald Stotish  said in a statement to Fishupdate today: “We remain confident that the more deliberative body of the Senate will refrain from interfering in the 15-year scientific review by the US FDA. The facts about the safety and the environmental benefits of the fish have been made fully public by the FDA.

“It would be a dangerous precedent to react to a handful of legislators’ misinformed paranoia. The real waste of tax-payer dollars would be to abandon the important American principle of science-based regulation, responding instead to economic protectionist fears or subjective and emotional judgments. This is an issue greater than our application, an issue of American leadership in technology, innovation, and science based regulation”.

AquaBounty points out that the  FDA has conducted a rigorous 15-year review of thousands of pages of data and has concluded that these fish are exactly the same as any other Atlantic salmon and, therefore, are safe for consumption. In addition, the fish will be sterile and required to be grown in self-contained inland tanks, posing no threat to the environment. Finally, the United Nations reports that the wild caught fisheries are severely stressed, with major food species potentially extinct by 2050, yet the demand for fish protein is exploding worldwide.

It reminds the US public that  America currently imports more than 97 per cent of the Atlantic salmon consumed in the US, adding ” while a handful of Senators wilfully ignore science-based research widely available to the public.”