Is FDA Withholding Info on Transgenic Salmon?

AquaBounty salmon vs. Atlantic salmonThe consumer group Center for Food Safety (CFS) obtained documents using the Freedom of Information Act that it says show that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is shutting out the opinions of marine and fisheries experts from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in its rush to approve a controversial, genetically-modified salmon. The AquAdvantage salmon, produced by a company called AquaBounty Technologies, is a genetically-engineered salmon that grows to market size in 16-18 months, instead of the usual 30 months required for Atlantic salmon. The food safety group says FDA knowingly withheld a 2003 federal Biological Opinion (pdf) issued by the FWS and NOAA that says raising transgenic salmon in open-water pens is prohibited under the Endangered Species Act. AquaBounty is raising its salmon in land-based pens, but claims that the transgenic fish pose no threat to marine environments. The Biological Opinion, issued in 2003, essentially says the opposite, expressing concern that transgenic salmon pose a threat to wild Atlantic salmon, which are currently listed on the Endangered Species list.


I use the name "Jurassic Salmon" because the assurances given by AquaBounty Technologies are STRIKINGLY SIMILAR to the assurances given by the Jurassic Park folks in Michael Crichton's 1990 novel (and the movie, of course). Why wouldn't the FDA suppress information about the dangers of Jurassic Salmon? Surely they are under pressure from AquaBounty and the Venture Capitalists / Investors (I worked in high-tech for many years, and have talked to many of them) who want to get a return for their investment (i.e. "get rich"). Nothing wrong with getting a return on investment, except when it endangers the natural salmon population, and maybe the people who end up consuming the stuff. I rue the day "When Jurassic Salmon Roam the Earth."