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Fast Growing GM Salmon Swims Close to US Markets

11 February 2009

US - It has been reported that Aqua Bounty Farms is getting close to opening the US market to its genetically modified, faster growing, breed of salmon. This may be the first GM meat product in America.

According to CBC News, Aqua Bounty Farms in Fortune, in eastern P.E.I., has been waiting more than a decade for federal approval in the United States. If the company gets the nod from the Food and Drug Administration, its salmon will be the world's first on the market.

FDA officials visited P.E.I. last fall to get a first-hand look at the facility in Fortune. A spokesperson from FDA wouldn't tell CBC News much about the application, but when asked how long before the salmon might be approved, the answer was "soon."

"The advantage Aqua Bounty's fish offers fish farmers is the speed with which it grows. It normally takes about three years to raise Atlantic salmon on a fish farm, but with the addition of a couple of genes from the cold-water Chinook salmon, Aqua Bounty's fish grow twice as fast. The breeder is hoping to sell its eggs and smolts to other fish farms in North America", said the news release. Adding that before any genetically modified salmon reaches the dinner table in the U.S. market, it needs the stamp of approval from the FDA, something the company has been waiting for a long time. It first applied for approval 12 years ago, and began submitting documentation seven years ago.

Aqua Bounty Technologies, Inc. reported the award of a research grant this week. The Company announced that it had been awarded a CN$2.9 million "Atlantic Innovation Fund" grant from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (“ACOA”).

"This award is payable over five years and is a contribution towards the total cost of the existing project (CN$4.5 million) to produce reproductively sterile Atlantic salmon", said a company press release. "This research is part of the Company’s commitment to continuous improvement of its AquAdvantage product line."

According to ACOA, "the future objective is the safe commercial launch of triploid salmon with Atlantic Canada identified as the source for associated commercial benefits, and worldwide distribution of the product."

Further Reading

- For more information, read our article Brave New Farm: GE Food Animals in the USA by clicking here.

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