AquaBounty GE salmon. (Photo: AquaBounty/FIS)
Alaskan Reps defy preliminary GM salmon safety finding
Monday, February 25, 2013, 03:30 (GMT + 9)
The Alaska House of Representatives has unanimously approved House Joint Resolution 5 (HJR5), urging the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to reconsider a preliminary finding which determined in December 2012 that a genetically modified (GM) salmon would not significantly affect the ecosystem. The resolution also asks the FDA to require labelling for GM salmon, or “Frankenfish,” countrywide if the product is eventually approved.
House Joint Resolution 5 was sponsored by Anchorage Democrat Geran Tarr, who believes that genetically engineered fish has not actually been proven to be safe.
“The resolution opposes this move for three reasons,” Tarr said on the House floor, KTOO reports. “Threats to wild salmon stocks; threats to human health and consumer confidence in wild Alaska salmon; and potential negative economic impact on our wild seafood industry.”
This move brings the 28th Alaska State Legislature closer to joining the Alaska Congressional Delegation and Alaska Governor Sean Parnell in standing with Alaskan fishers against GM fish.
“It’s important that Alaskans have one, unified voice on this issue. We need to tell the FDA that we will not support Frankenfish in our waters,” said Tarr. “I want to thank my colleagues in the House for supporting this resolution, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate to pass it as well.”
The resolution now goes to the Alaska Senate.
Massachusetts-based biotech company AquaBounty petitioned the FDA to approve its GM salmon, called AquAdvantage® Salmon (AAS) -- an Atlantic salmon modified with genes from a Chinook salmon and an eel-like fish that together make it grow faster than natural fish and consume less feed.
The FDA recently extended the public comment period on AquaBounty’s petition by 60 days through 26 April.
"This is an administrative action and, although we are not pleased, we do not believe this materially affects our chances for approval. There have been no new facts introduced, and it is the position of the Company that an approval will be granted,” Ron Stotish, CEO of AquaBounty, stated.
"The FDA panel of experts concluded in September 2010 that AAS is indistinguishable from other Atlantic salmon, is safe to eat and does not pose a threat to the environment under its conditions of use. There has been neither new information nor a clear legal or regulatory issue raised by the FDA since that time," he added.
If the FDA approves the GM fish, AquaBounty will sell the eggs to aquaculture facilities so they can raise them to marketable-size salmon.
- Consumer group warns of FDA's impending approval of GM fish
- AquaBounty still confident its transgenic salmon will be approved
By Natalia Real