Government Stalemate May Kill GMO Salmon Before It Spawns

The Associated Press recently published an update on Aquabounty’s GMO salmon. In case you haven’t been following this issue, Aquabounty was poised to become the world’s first company to sell fish whose DNA has been altered to speed up growth. This “frankenfish” became a rallying cry for the anti-GMO movement in America, spawning hundreds of thousands of public comments and petition signatures.

Now, it seems that Aquabounty is running out of money, and may have to shut its doors before the genetically modified seafood makes it to market. Normally, the slow-moving wheels of government bureaucracy are criticized for obstructing American innovation, but in this case, they’re doing anti-GMO advocates a huge favor.

Despite early evaluations from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that declared Aquabounty salmon was ‘as safe to eat as the traditional variety’ the idea of selling unmarked GMOs over the seafood counter alarmed many Americans. This outcry, which included dubious reports from the scientific community, sparked a new round of FDA review. That was two years ago, and although there have been several scares, the FDA still hasn’t approved the fish. Coincidentally, this paralysis may accomplish what direct action hasn’t been able to.

“It’s threatening our very survival,” CEO Ron Stotish, chief executive of the Maynard, Mass.-based company, told the AP. “We only have enough money to survive until January 2013, so we have to raise more. But the unexplained delay has made raising money very difficult.”

The FDA says it’s in the final stages of its environmental impact statement (EIS), a particularly important part of the process. If Aquabounty’s farmed GMO salmon were to escape and breed with wild salmon, the entire species would be at risk. It could quickly become impossible to know if any commercial salmon was GMO or not. This isn’t an easy risk to assess, and the FDA says that even when the EIS is complete, it must be published for comment before an approval can be issued. That means a final decision could be months, even years away.

If Aquabounty folds before final approval is issued, it will be a victory, but the domino effect will be even better. As of right now, Aquabounty is the only company in the country seeking approval for a genetically modified animal to be eaten by humans. Rest assured, other potential purveyors of unlabeled GMOs are waiting in the wings, watching what happens in this case. The AP report claims the FDA’s lengthy review process “could discourage other U.S. companies from investing in animal biotechnology, or the science of manipulating animal DNA to produce a desirable trait.”

You say that like it’s a bad thing.

Yes, other biotech companies should be paying attention. Business works on supply and demand, right? Well if Aquabounty fails, it will be because thousands of citizens spoke out against being forced to eat unlabeled GMOs. We don’t want franken fish on our plates, and we’re willing to say so. We’re also willing to shut the doors of one GMO company as a warning to the rest.

Update: The FDA has quietly released its draft environmental assessment [PDF], approving Aquabounty’s GMO salmon a second time. The decision must be open to public comment for 60 days. Now is the time to act. PLEASE take a few moments to voice your concerns on the government regulations website. Click here and comment on “Finding of no Significant Impact for Genetically Engineered Atlantic Salmon (AquAdvantage Salmon)” to have your voice heard.

Related Reading:

FDA Caught Hiding The Truth About GMO Salmon

Genetically Engineered Salmon No Laughing Matter

Farmed Fish And Sea Lice Endanger Wild Salmon Stocks

Top Image: Comparison of Aquabounty GMO salmon to wild salmon of similar age. Credit: The Earth Diet


Jim Ven
Jim Ven16 days ago

thanks for sharing.

Evelyn Nieves
Evelyn Nieves3 years ago

Please be sure to eat large doses of agent orange corn, and invite Vietnam veterans to dinner with your family! oh..the good times, multiple miscarriages brought on to their wives and grandchildren, for many generations to come! Let this be your prime motivator! crippled immune systems, and disinformation to all! oh! but where was the evidence?! Geez! look at the time. gotta run! who cares about who has the sense to try to avoid it, just trust in the recklessness of our risk assessment, whose prime motivator is corporate sponsorship!...jeez it's exactly what every single living, breathing organism wants to avoid! joy.

Mit Wes
Mit Wes3 years ago

Has anyone read Mark Lynas recanting of his previous anti-gmo positions ?

Will Care2 publish the story ?

Mit Wes
Mit Wes3 years ago


"... food. That makes them smile. It's the ultimate revenge against a world that mistreated them in their youth. Death to everyone!"

My question to the Care2 site is, why do you keep using as a reference ?

Mit Wes
Mit Wes3 years ago

Here's yet another, "reasoned, stick to the facts" (Lots of SARCASM here), of Mike Adams on

"GMO-promoting scientists are the most despicable humanoid creatures to have ever walked the surface of this planet. To call them "human" is an insult to humanity. They are ANTI-human. They are demonic. They are forces of evil that walk among the rest of us, parading as authorities when in their hearts and souls they are actually corporate cowards and traitors to humankind. To pad their own pockets, they would put at risk the very future of sustainable life on our planet... and they do it consciously, insidiously. They feed on death, destruction, suffering and pain. They align with the biotech industry precisely because they know that no other industry is as steeped in pure evil as the biotech industry. GMO pushers will lie, cheat, steal, falsify and even mass-murder as many people as it takes to further their agenda of total global domination over the entire food supply... at ANY cost."


"GMO-pimping scientists are laughing at all the death they're causing. They enjoy tricking people and watching them die because it makes their sick minds feel more powerful. These were the geeks in school who were bullied by the jocks. But now, with the power of genetic manipulation at their fingertips, they can invoke their hatred against all humankind and "bully" the entire world with hidden poisons in the foo

Mit Wes
Mit Wes3 years ago

Yes, Dale, it is nice to find common ground. Sorry you don't like those Canadian winters. I've been up there a few times, to Peterborough, ONT, on business. Very nice town.

I noticed you ended your comment with a link to the Seralini study. Here's a later link:

And the French are not known for their love of GM Corn, either.

To this date, Seralini has refused to release the raw data, initially claiming it is too large. What hogwash! We're not talking paper and pencil anymore. He can just WinZip it and send it in! But he has refused to date. Makes you wonder if it even exists. He also used a strain of rats that is expected to get those particular cancers and at the rates that his study found them to get. Notice also that he didn't publish a picture of a control group rat.

Another, highly suspicious outcome of his study is that the rats that ate GM corn alone and the rats that ate conventional corn with Roundup both had exactly the same ailments. That's like saying that a long screw and it's mating nut will both cause the same stabbing injury. This, however, is explained by the fact that this strain of rats are expected to get those kinds of cancers. Nothing to do with either the GM corn or Roundup.

John B.
John B.3 years ago

Thanks for the article, Beth. I certainly hope this is the case.

Dale Overall

Mit W, there is one thing that we can at least agree on...Murky Mercola, the person selling overpriced Himalayan salt and stating that whole grains can contribute to mental health problems.

Ahhh, I guess there are some anti-GMO ninjas out there as well. However I am very suspicious of GMO crops and agree with Dorothy N's comments. Also Monsanto is much more powerful than Greenpeace and can wreck far more havoc on natural crops.

As for being a guinea pig, I would rather be one in the invention of chocolate mole Mexican chicken recipes than Monsanto.

Am looking forward to growing my organic balcony garden once the icy hands of the Canadian Winter departs from my balcony...I have a long wait.

Mit Wes
Mit Wes3 years ago

Good Night and sweet dreams, Tiffany !

Mit Wes
Mit Wes3 years ago

"GMO canola is already a nasty, very difficult to kill roadside weed" - Grace A.

What makes it more nasty than non GM rapeseed? What makes rapeseed nasty in the first place?

It's only more difficult to kill when you try to use the particular herbicide it's resistant to. But then, organic people don't want us to use herbicides in the first place, do they? So, if you are going to be organic, you're no worse off. Right? By the way, this problem doesn't apply to genetic modifications for yield or nutritional enhancements, like golden rice.

Greace, you also state that humans had been killed by ingesting GM Bt in food. Who ?