Murkowski Waging Frankenfish Fight in Senate with New Bill

Senator’s Work on Capitol Hill Building Bipartisan Support

Senator Lisa Murkowski today announced she is introducing bipartisan legislation cracking down on the potential introduction of Genetically Engineered Salmon, or “Frankenfish.”  Murkowski’s bill is being co-sponsored by Senators Maria Cantwell, Martin Heinrich and Jeff Merkley, and would add two conditions: compulsory labeling of the product if it proceeds to market, and a stringent Environmental Impact Study be done beforehand assessing the potential risks and threats posed by the synthetically-manufactured creatures.

“When you’re splicing the genes of an Atlantic Salmon with an Ocean Pout that basically adds ‘antifreeze’ to its system, that sounds more like ‘Jurassic Park’-science than something I want on my plate,” said Murkowski.  “Alaskans are united in our wariness of Frankenfish and the havoc they could wreak on our sustainable fisheries; if the FDA insists on putting this science experiment on grocery store shelves, they must let consumers know what they are buying.”

Background: Senator Murkowski has long been a vocal opponent of transgenic fish – both because of the many unknowns they pose to human consumption but also the damage they could do to Alaska’s fisheries.  Her work has created positive momentum in recent years, through the passage of labeling amendments in Committee votes or non-binding Senate votes.  In addition to the scientific gene splicing cause public concern, the fact that the manufacturers are seeking FDA approval of GE salmon as a ‘Drug Product’ also creates discomfort among officials and the commercial sector – with national retailers like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods already standing up and declaring they will not sell ‘Frankenfish’ even if the FDA approves it.