Congress tries to keep frankenfish out of stores
AquaBounty Technologies of Boston, Massachusetts have spent over 15 years and $50 million at perfecting the AquAdvantage salmon, a “frankenfish” created through the horrors of space-age science. The FDA began the approval process over a year ago to let the salmon, which would be the first genetically modified animal legally available for human consumption, make its way to supermarket shelves. Congress is trying to keep the spaceage seacreature out of stores, however, citing safety concerns as well as the uncertain outcome the fish could have on the American salmon biz.
Representatives from Alaska are arguing that the wild salmon industry of their state stands to be decimated if Americans are allowed the opportunity to purchase a man-made alternative that grows at twice the speed of Mother Nature’s version. AquaBounty says that fish farmers could cut the cost needed to raise salmon and grow more in less time, but those that rely on the old fashioned route for fish breeding aren’t so keen on the idea.
Economics aside, Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski told lawmakers last week that frankly, a genetically-engineered fish for sale “kind of gives me the heebie jeebies.”
AquaBounty insists that their frankenfish is safe for consumption, but some critics are crying foul and demanding that the FDA take a second-look at potential outcomes of allowing the “animal.” The Commercial Fishermen of America have launched a “Stop Frankenfish!” campaign, and write on their website that they are weary of the FDA’s approval, which would be the first of its kind.
Ron Stotish, CEO of Aquabounty, realizes that he has a unique hurdle to hop over with the salmon being the first of its kind up for approval. He tells the Guardian that he did not expect the battle for the fish’s go-ahead to take so long, but is still hoping that his plans to have lab-made fishies being lab-made to satisfy America’s craving for more, meatier food, all-natural or not.
The AquaAdvatange salmon is created by artificially combining growth hormone genes from a separate spawn of salmon with the DNA of an eelpout, a slimy, ray-finned fish.