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Alaska Legislature Says No to Frankenfish

Rep. Tarr resolution opposing genetically modified salmon passes Legislature unanimously

Juneau, AK – Today, the Senate unanimously passed House Joint Resolution 5, opposing what has been named “Frankenfish”.  Sponsored by Representative Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage), this resolution opposes FDA approval of genetically modified salmon. 

In passing the resolution, the Legislature joins the governor, Alaska’s congressional delegation, dozens of fishing groups from across the state, food safety consumer groups, environmental organizations, and many individual Alaskans in opposing biotech company Aquabounty’s application for federal approval of genetically modified salmon.

“We must speak up in a unified Alaskan voice in opposing this application.  There are concerns about whether the genetically modified salmon is safe for human consumption and concerns about possible threats to wild salmon stocks and the salmon industry,” said Rep. Tarr.  “We need to protect Alaskan’s health and the livelihood of the approximately 70,000 individuals whose work depends on the fishing industry in Alaska.”

Genetically modified salmon are on track to be the first genetically modified animal to be approved for human consumption. At this time, the Food and Drug Administration has not done extensive studies on the effect this will have to human health. The fish has the genetic material from an ocean pout, a Chinook salmon, and an Atlantic salmon. Risk of escapement threatens wild salmon stocks. Genetically modified salmon are larger and significantly more aggressive than wild salmon. There have been confirmed reports of Alaskan fisherman catching Atlantic salmon that escaped from Washington fish farms.

“After working on this issue last year, I’m happy to see that the Legislature passed this resolution in a timely manner to meet the deadline to comment for the FDA,” said Representative Scott Kawasaki (D-Fairbanks), one of the sponsors of the resolution.

Senator Micciche (R-Kenai) carried the resolution on the Senate floor.

“Negative concerns associated with Frankenfish are likely to affect Alaskan wild salmon,” Micciche said on the Senate Floor. “This issue is important to all Alaskans.”

Micciche also said he wasn’t too keen on feeding his family a science experiment.

The resolution will be transmitted to the governor, and then sent to the FDA. The deadline to submit a comment to the FDA regarding Genetically Modified Salmon is April 26, 2013.

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