California Bans GMO Salmon Production

Big news out of California as Governor Jerry Brown has signed a law that prevents producing genetically modified salmon in the state’s waters. Note that this isn’t a statewide ban on the sale of GMO salmon, but it’s a huge step in the right direction. 

Salmon fishing is a major industry in northern California, and it’s already stressed by drought and competing demands for water,” reports EcoWatch. “Native species could be further stressed if so-called ‘frankenfish,’ bred to grow at a much faster rate than normal, escaped into state waters.”

Read more about GMO contamination

The bill—AB 504—was drafted by Assemblyman Wesley Chesbro, from Arcata, an area north of San Francisco on the Humboldt Bay “where marine life abounds, including coho and chinook salmon,” reports EcoWatch.

 “I thank Governor Brown for understanding the importance of protecting California wild salmon and steelhead from the threat of transgenic modification,” Chesbro said in a statement. “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is currently reviewing an application by a company that seeks to produce a farmed salmon in the United States that has been genetically altered to grow faster than native salmon. If these ‘frankenfish’ were to escape into our waters, they could destroy our native salmonid populations through interbreeding, competition for food and the introduction of parasites and disease. The only way to ensure this never happens is to ban commercial hatchery production, cultivation or stocking of transgenic salmonids in California.”

While GMO salmon has not yet been approved for sale or production in the U.S. GMO critics fear it’s only a matter of time before the FDA gives its okay on the fish.

Called AquAdvantage, the GMO salmon was developed by Canada’s Aqua Bounty. The fish are designed to grow rapidly, reaching market weight in half the time it takes non-GMO salmon. 

Already, major U.S. retailers including Safeway, Kroger, Whole Foods and Trader Joe's have said they will not sell the GMO salmon once it's approved.

Read about Oregon mapping GMO farms to protect farmers

Image: Merylmel13

By Jill Ettinger| October 17, 2014
Categories:  Eat

About the Author

Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger is a freelance journalist and marketing specialist primarily focused on the organic and natural industries, she bridges her love for changing the food system with her lifelong passion for writing and connecting people in their shared values. You can connect with Jill on Twitter and Instagram.

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