Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Failure over salmon

Conservation bodies alarm at US Senate failure over genetically engineered salmon
May 28, 2012

In a move that has alarmed a number of conservation bodies, the US senate failed at the end of last week to approve an amendment that could have stopped genetically engineered salmon from being available for human consumption in the United States.

In response to the proposed amendment Matt Tinning, Executive Director of the Marine Fish Conservation Network, said: “Today, forty six Senators stood with our nation’s fishermen and seafood lovers and opposed the precipitous approval of Frankenfish.

“We applaud Senator Murkowski for calling attention to the fact that an application for sale of AquaAdvantage, a genetically engineered salmon, is being considered by the Food and Drug Administration under procedures established for the review of animal drugs. The FDA has no expertise in safeguarding the health of marine ecosystems or the wellbeing of fishing communities. This amendment would have ensured that NOAA, our nation’s ocean science and fisheries management agency, be required to consider those potential impacts.

“To give a green light to GE salmon without considering the ecological or socio-economic impacts that it could have on fisheries and fishing communities recklessly puts the health of our ocean and the wellbeing of our nation’s fishermen at undue risk.”

The fish in question are being produced by a company called Aquabounty, which is pushing approval of genetically engineered fish for sale to US consumers for the first time. Designed to grow twice as fast as natural salmon, the company wants to hatch and grow the salmon in Panama and Canada, before selling them in the United States. Currently the FDA is the sole federal agency with responsibility for reviewing AquaBounty’s application.

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