Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) introduced two pieces of legislation on February 8–one would require that genetically engineered fish are labeled as such, and the other would ban genetically-modified fish, according to a government press release.
Young’s legislation comes in response to a proposal by AquaBounty Technologies, a Boston-based company seeking to produce a biotech salmon called AquAdvantage, currently under consideration by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA).
“Frankenfish are uncertain and unnecessary,” Rep. Young said in a statement. “The assessments of these ‘fish’ are flawed at best and the threat to the population of our wild salmon stock is unacceptable. Additionally, consumers have the right to know that they are eating a supposedly sterile fish spliced with the growth hormone of a Chinook and the genetic code of an ocean pout. We cannot allow these alien fish to infect our stocks and I will put forth every effort to ensure they stay in the labs where they belong. I choose Alaskan wild salmon every time.”
If FDA-approved, frankenfish would become the first genetically-engineered animal available for human consumption. AquAdvantage was created from a fertilized egg of the North Atlantic salmon. This process is far different from cloning—scientists extract the growth hormone from the chinook, or king, salmon and a gene from the bottom-dwelling, eel-like ocean pout fish—a combination that causes the salmon to grow year-round, while wild salmon only grow in the warmer months. The AquAdvantage salmon hits the eight-pound market weight in only 18 months rather than the typical 36, and consumes less food over its lifetime, compared to a wild North Atlantic Salmon.
Read more about genetically-modified super-salmon that Rep. Young seeks to derail from entering grocery stores and overtaking the place of wild salmon on kitchen tables.