Public Comment Sought on Genetically Modified Salmon

The federal Food and Drug Administration is seeking public
comment on the agency’s draft environmental assessment on genetically
engineered Atlantic salmon.

The Federal Register notice was set for publication today on
the agency’s preliminary finding of no significant impact (FONSI) regarding the
AquaAdvantage salmon, a fast-growing fish engineered for human consumption.
United Fishermen of Alaska issued an alert on the FONSI
report this past week, urging those in the commercial fishing industry to let
the FDA know what their feelings are about the “FDA present of Frankenfish
under your Christmas tree.”
The public has 60 days after publication in the Federal
Register to submit comments electronically or by mail.
Instructions for electronic submissions are at
Written comments should be addressed to the Division of Dockets Management
(HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, rm. 1061, Rockville,
MD 20852. Comments should refer to the docket number, Docket No.
For further information contact Eric Silberhorn, Center for veterinary
medicine (HFV-162), Food and Drug Administration, 7500 Standish Pl., Rockville,
MD 20855; 1-240-276-8247, or email
Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, said the notion that Frankenfish
is safe for the public and the oceans is a joke. “I will fight tooth and nail with
my Alaska colleagues to make sure consumers have a clear choice when it comes
to wild and sustainable versus lab-grown science projects,” the senator said.
“People want to know they are eating natural, healthy, wild salmon,” Begich
said. The FDA’s assessment imperils both families and fishermen, he said.
Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, issued a statement earlier this
week saying he would continue to fight with Alaska’s two senators to ensure
that this product never hits the market. “I’ve said from the beginning that
Frankenfish pose a grave threat to Alaska’s wild salmon stocks,” said Young,
who called the FDA decision of no significant impact “foolish and disturbing.”
Young said he plans to reintroduce legislation that will at
a bare minimum require genetically engineered salmon to be labeled to ensure
that the public knows what they are purchasing at the grocery store and feeding
to their families.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said she is concerned with
the FDA’s decision to move forward with approval of the genetically modified
fish. The agency is ignoring opposition from fishing groups, as well as more
than 300 environmental, consumer and health organizations, she said.