USDA gives AquaBounty half million dollars to study its own GE salmon

Feds help GMO salmon swim upstream

salmonPhoto: Isaac Wedin

By Clare Leschin-Hoar

AquaBounty Technology’s genetically modified salmon just got a hefty financial boost from the USDA: On Monday, the agency awarded the Massachusetts-based company $494,000 to study technologies that would render the genetically tweaked fish sterile. This would reduce the likelihood they could reproduce with wild salmon, should any escape into the wild — a scenario that has many environmentalists concerned.

The Atlantic salmon, which is branded with the name AquAdvantage, has been genetically altered with a growth-hormone gene from a Chinook salmon and a “genetic on-switch” gene from an ocean pout that will allow the fish to grow all year round, reaching market size much faster than traditional salmon.

In mid-2010, AquaBounty’s salmon appeared to be on the fast-track for approval by the FDA, which would have made it the first genetically modified animal approved for human consumption. But the process has since been stalled. Lawmakers in states like California and Alaska have been actively introducing legislation that requires the fish to be labeled as a GMO product or to prohibit its production entirely. Then, this June, the House of Representatives voted to prohibit the FDA from using funds for approval of the salmon.

The same bill the House voted on (an Agriculture Appropriations amendment) is currently stalled in the Senate. Now the USDA grant is raising eyebrows. Upon FDA approval, the company would sell salmon eggs to aquaculture operations looking to farm the fish. The majority of farmed salmon are raised in open-net ocean pens, a practice environmentalists have condemned for years because of escapement, pollution, and disease. So it’s no surprise that the issue of reproductive ability is being closely scrutinized.

Read more at Grist

10 responses to “USDA gives AquaBounty half million dollars to study its own GE salmon

  1. Gee, USDA, I’d like to sell a product that most people don’t want and so I don’t want to have to label it, and because the product is environmentally dangerous and I haven’t quite fully ensured its safety, will you give me a half million dollars to more fully study my idea?

  2. Unadulterated corruption!

  3. Hmmm, let’s see, caution about GMO’s aside, and the ongoing problems that factoy fish are having that are similar to CAFO’d meats, I believe that ALL the animals in Jurassic Park were “guaranteed sterile females”; the character played by Jeff Goldblum, a chaos-theoretician, stated “Life will find a way”. Well, there you have it. Playing god to make a fast buck. I hope a T-Rex eats these guys ass-end first, just so they can savor the experience before losing consciousness! 🙂

  4. As Derrick Jensen would say, “tear down the dams,” and we wouldnt even need GE salmon!!!!

  5. I’m starting to wonder if politicians aren’t genetically engineered!

  6. My bets are that someone at the USDA has money invested in AquaBounty and are losing their @ss.

  7. Pingback: USDA gives AquaBounty half million dollars to study its own GE salmon | .....Aaron's EnvironMental Corner.....

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