The public is being afforded more time to comment on a new genetically engineered fish species that many opponents are calling a "Frankenfish". If the "AquAdvantage Salmon" is ultimately approved it will be the first genetically engineered animal destined for human consumption.
In December the FDA issued a draft Environmental Assessment and preliminary finding of no significant impact for the application put forward by "AquaBounty Technologies" to create and market the new salmon. The original comment deadline was February 25th but on Tuesday the FDA decided to extend the commend deadline another 60-days to April 26th.
U.S. Senator Mark Begich and 6-other Senators sent a letter to the Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration last month requesting the additional comment time. The Senators stressed that they continue to have serious concerns about the AquaBounty proposal and noted that Legislation would be forthcoming to stop approval of the genetically modified salmon and to require that it be labeled as such if approved. That legislation was introduced last week in both the House and Senate. Shorty after the public comment deadline was extended Senator Begich issued a statement suggesting that Alaskans need the time to speak out against the fake fish. The announcement of the comment period extension came on the same day that the issue was addressed in the Alaska Legislature. The House Fisheries Committee approved House Joint Resolution 5 sponsored by Representatives Geran Tarr from Anchorage and Scott Kawasaki from Fairbanks. The Resolution, which is intended to reflect the sense of the Legislature, opposes the Food and Drug Administration's approval of the sale of the "AquaAdvantage Salmon" in the U.S. Representative Tarr says the genetically modified salmon would threaten the wild salmon stocks in Alaska. House Joint Resolution 5 is being co-sponsored by 10 members of the House and it's also being supported by the UFA.