ANALYSIS - It is good news for AquaBounty, as its AquAdvantage genetically modified (GM) salmon moves a step closer to approval after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found the salmon poses no threat to the environment, writes Lucy Towers, TheFishSite Editor.
In the environmental assessment and the draft Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) report, the FDA approved the salmon, finding it safe for human consumption as well as finding that it poses no significant threat to the environment.
It is planned that the GM salmon eggs will be produced in Prince Edward Island, Canada and then sent to an inland location in Panama for grow-out until they reach a harvestable size.
With regards to this, the FDA found that AquaBounty's facilities are secure, making the threat of an escape remote.
Commenting on the publication of the Environmental Assessment and FONSI, Ron Stotish, CEO of AquaBounty, said: “We are delighted that the Environmental Assessment is to be published for comment, which brings us a major step closer to approval. The revival of the science based review process is encouraging and we look forward to a successful conclusion based on the merit of the product.”
The public now has the chance to comment on the report.
After the public comment period the FDA will review the comments, then deciding whether to prepare a final EA and FONSI, or to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS).
The FDA will also complete the review of the AquAdvantage Salmon application and will reach a decision on approval.
Despite AquAdvantage salmon being produced inland, and the pressure it will help take off fishing wild stocks, there has still been concern voiced by environmental groups.
Food & Water Watch told TheFishSite that it is still concerned, especially with the prospect that the AquAdvantage salmon may not be labelled GE in the supermarket.
"With over 40 members of Congress and federal agency scientists speaking out against its approval — some citing the lack of scientific rigor and expertise at the FDA — consumers should be furious about their tax money supporting a controversial product that might not even be labelled," a statement from the organisation said.
Further ReadingYou can view more on the AquAdvantage salmon by clicking here.