National Fisherman

Fishing groups, consumers and health organizations are launching a final push to prevent genetically modified fish from getting the nod for American dinner plates, writes Laine Welch.

During the holidays the Food and Drug Administration issued its environmental assessment concluding that the fish, tweaked to grow at least three times faster than normal, will not have any significant impacts on the human environment and is unlikely to harm wild stocks. The FDA's environmental green light is the last step before AquaBounty, the creators of so called Frankenfish, can send the mutant to markets. The public has until February 26 to send comments to the FDA.

Alaska Senators Begich and Murkowski have written to the FDA asking for a 60 day extension to the comment deadline, citing the holiday timing and new transitions in Congress. Senators from Washington, Oregon and Maryland also signed on to the comment extension request. No word yet on if the request has been granted. Meanwhile, Senator Begich said the agency is moving "full steam ahead with fine-tuning its Frankenfish regulations," and he is not optimistic that public opinion will sway the federal ok.

Indeed. Late last year the federal government awarded a coveted $500,000 research grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture to AquaBounty when the company disclosed it could run out of cash early this year. Over the past 16 years, Aqua Bounty has spent $67 million to genetically tweak its "AquaAdvantage" Atlantic salmon and navigate the permitting processes. Senator Begich called the FDA's support of the mutant fish "totally misguided." "I think the FDA is not equipped to understand the impacts this genetically engineered fish will have on the environment and ecosystem," he said in a recent teleconference.

Read the full story at the Fish Site>>

National Fisherman Live

National Fisherman Live: 4/22/14

  • OSU study targets commercial fishing injuries
  • Delaware's native mud crab making recovery
  • Alaska salmon catch projected to drop 47 percent
  • West Coast groundfish fishery bill passes
  • Maine's scallop season strongest in years

Brian Rothschild of the Center for Sustainable Fisheries on revisions to the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

Inside the Industry

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council is currently soliciting applicants for open advisory panel seats as well as applications from scientists interested in serving on its Scientific and Statistical Committee.

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The North Carolina Fisheries Association (NCFA), a nonprofit trade association representing commercial fishermen, seafood dealers and processors, recently announced a new leadership team. Incorporated in 1952, its administrative office is in Bayboro, N.C.

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