Lawsuits for the approval of a genetically modified fish are an indicator of the philosophical divide over genetically modified organisms in animal agriculture, specialists say.

AquaBounty Technologies Inc. of Maynard, Mass., created the AquAdvantage Salmon by inserting genes from Pacific Chinook salmon and a deep water ocean eelpout. The gene allows it to grow twice as fast as conventional salmon, using 25 percent less feed than Atlantic salmon. The approval makes the salmon the first-ever transgenic animal approved to be ingested directly by humans.

Environmental and fishing groups in late March sued the Food and Drug Administration in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, saying it ignored risks to wild salmon, as well as the environment and fishing industry communities. Plaintiffs are led by the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, the Institute for Fisheries Resources, Golden Gate Salmon Associations and the Friends of Merrymeeting Bay.

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