As has been widely reported, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has made a preliminary finding that production of a genetically engineered line of supersized Atlantic salmon "would not have a significant effect on the quality of the human environment in the United States."
A Boston-based company, AquaBounty Technologies, wants to produce eggs at a facility on Canada's Prince Edward Island, then ship the eggs to a land-based salmon grow-out facility in the highlands of Panama.
Market-sized fish would be processed into fillets and steaks in Panama prior to retail sale in the United States.
Naturally, Alaska's wild salmon industry and its political defenders believe this is just a horrible idea, and are resisting in much the same way they have always resisted competition from aquaculture.
Last week, Alaska Sen. Mark Begich introduced a bill to bar sales of genetically engineered salmon in the United States unless another agency, NOAA, also finds it would have no significant impact.
"The FDA lacks the expertise to judge the impact of escaped Frankenfish on wild salmon stocks," Begich said.
Alaska Congressman Don Young likewise aims to make life difficult for AquaBounty salmon. He has offered a bill to "require all genetically engineered fish sold for consumption to be labeled as such."
The FDA is taking public comment on its preliminary finding until Feb. 25.
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