Murkowski Statement on New U.S. Genetically Engineered Salmon Facility

GE Salmon Import Ban In Place

Today, U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) released the following statement after the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approved the application for an AquaBounty Salmon Facility in Indiana last week. AquaBounty Technologies has been developing genetically engineered (GE) salmon since 1996 and received an FDA approval in 2015 to sell it for human consumption. Due to Senator Murkowski’s efforts, an import alert for GE salmon remains in place preventing U.S. production.

“While AquaBounty continues their efforts to sell GE salmon for human consumption, thankfully because of the language I inserted into the FY18 omnibus bill banning the import of genetically engineered salmon, including eggs, they will be unable to produce GE salmon at this facility. But the fight against “Frankenfish” is not over. I will continue to push for clear labeling of this product, if it is to enter into our marketplace, and for proper oversight,” Senator Murkowski said. “Currently, GE salmon are evaluated under the FDA’s New Animal Drug Application – a program intended to oversee antibiotics and medicines use on animals and livestock. The fact that the FDA does not have a proper approval process in place for these new GE animals for human consumption is frightening and appalling. Alaska’s fisheries are world-renowned for their high-quality, productivity, and sustainability, and these genetically modified salmon could potentially devastate our wild populations of salmon and desolate our fisheries. I will continue to work to protect Alaskans, our fish populations, and larger ecosystems from potentially disastrous outcomes.”

On Thursday, April 26th, the Food and Drug Administration approved a supplemental New Animal Drug Application (NADA) submitted by AquaBounty Technologies in order to raise AquAdvantage Salmon at a land-based contained facility near Albany, Indiana. While the Indiana facility is approved for production, the company is prohibited from importing the eggs necessary for producing GE salmon at the facility, meaning that U.S. production of the genetically engineered salmon is not allowed. This is because of a requirement in FDA’s current appropriations law that Senator Murkowski championed, which was added in the recent FY18 government funding bill and signed into law March 2018.

Background: Senator Murkowski is a sponsor the Genetically Engineered Salmon Labeling Act, legislation which mandates clear labeling of genetically engineered salmon and requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to ensure a third-party independent scientific review of the FDA’s environmental assessment for all GE finfish, including GE salmon, for human consumption.

Related Issues: Alaska's Fisheries, Health