Genetically engineered salmon have been the subject of hot debate for months now. In July, a team of senators led by Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski petitioned the FDA to cease its consideration of approving AquAdvantage salmon for importation, growth, and consumption in the United States. On Thursday, December 15, at 10:30AM EST, the United States Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard will be holding a hearing in which they’ll take a good look at the risks involved in approving genetically engineered salmon and other similar fish.
According to an official statement from the Senate, the hearing will address some important questions on the topic, including “environmental safety issues surrounding genetically engineered fish, focusing on possible risks to wild fish stocks, fisheries and aquatic ecosystems should these fish escape into wild habitats.”
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A variety of witnesses will be on hand to represent equally varied interests and give insight into issues like what points must be considered to properly assess potential dangers and whether there’s a way to minimize risk. At the moment, the witness panel includes:
Dr. Ron Stotish
President and CEO, AquaBounty Technologies, Inc.
Dr. John Epifanio
Illinois Natural History Survey
Mr. Paul Greenberg
Journalist and Author
Dr. George Leonard
Aquaculture Program Director, Ocean Conservancy
As President and CEO of AquaBounty Technologies, it’s only natural that Stotish has been outspoken in his support of GE salmon on numerous occasions. In response to the petition to the FDA in July, he released a statement to the effect that any worry about AquAdvantage salmon is based in paranoia and not fact. Others on the panel have been equally outspoken in the other direction – Paul Greenberg, for example, has both written and spoken extensively in opposition of genetically engineered farmed salmon. Bringing these different viewpoints together should give the Senate and the FDA a bounty of food for thought as they make their eventual decision. For those who wish to tune in, the Senate notes that the hearing will be broadcast live via webcast on the Senate Commerce Committee website.
[VIA: Food Safety News]