FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Erin Mooney, National Press Secretary, 703-284-9408
Keith Curley, Director of Government Affairs, 703-284-9428
Trout Unlimited Applauds House Amendment to Block Approval of Genetically Modified Salmon
Arlington, Va. Trout Unlimited (TU) welcomed the passage of an amendment to the House Agriculture Appropriations bill that would bar the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from using federal funds to approve any application from a company for the production of genetically engineered salmon. The amendment, offered by Rep. Don Young (R-AK), was voted on Wednesday evening.
The FDA is currently considering a permit application by AquaBounty Technologies, Inc. that would make genetically modified Atlantic salmon the first genetically engineered animal approved for human consumption. The modified salmon, known as AquAdvantage, are designed to grow twice as fast as conventional farmed Atlantic salmon.
TU is deeply concerned about the risks that genetically altered salmon pose to wild salmon populations through competition or interbreeding should they escape confinement or be released into the wild. TU is also concerned that the FDA is moving through its decision-making process without adequate environmental analysis and involvement by the agencies that manage salmon fisheries, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries Service.
“Many wild salmon populations, including wild Atlantic salmon in Maine, are listed as threatened or endangered species and cannot stand additional new stressors,” said Keith Curley, TU’s Director of Government Affairs. “This amendment would prevent the FDA from putting wild salmon at unnecessary risk of competition and interbreeding from genetically modified salmon.”
“In Alaska, we particularly welcome passage of this amendment given the tens of thousands of jobs tied to our healthy wild salmon runs. Alaska’s multi-million-dollar commercial and sport fishing industries are based on the abundance of wild salmon here. This huge economic engine, as well as the culture and lifestyles that wild salmon support in Alaska, would be seriously undermined by the introduction of genetically engineered salmon,” said Tim Bristol, Director of Trout Unlimited, Alaska Program. “I’m grateful that the Alaska Congressional delegation is going to bat for us on this.”
The House Agriculture Appropriations bill, H.R. 2112, is expected to be voted on this week. The bill will then move to the U.S. Senate.
TU thanks Representatives Young and Woolsey for their leadership in protecting wild salmon, and urges the U.S. Senate to follow through on preventing the FDA from approving genetically engineered salmon for human consumption.
Trout Unlimited (www.tu.org) is the nation's largest coldwater conservation organization, with 140,000 members dedicated to conserving, protecting, and restoring North America's trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds.