July 19, 2018

Food & Water Watch Prods SEC About Aquabounty Risks

Food & Water Watch is asking the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) to make AquaBounty Technologies, the producer of genetically engineered salmon, tell investors about the risks of its product. Aquabounty’s SEC filing “misrepresents the market barriers, regulatory hurdles, and financial prospects facing its sole product, GE salmon,” according to the agency.

SalmonExecutive Director Wenonah Hauter said in a statement, “the SEC needs to ensure that investors are able to distinguish between what AquaBounty says in its disclosures and the facts on the ground. Aquabounty’s SEC filing confirms a long history of misrepresentation and missing transparency. Even the FDA was recently compelled to rein in AquaBounty for falsely stating that FDA will not require GE salmon to be labeled.”

Apparently even if the FDA lets AquaBounty sell GE salmon, the company still needs approval from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which wants a separate and more lengthy review process. There is also pending legal action in Panama that alleges the company “has been operating without legally required permits and inspections,” according to the agency.

Also under question are claims by AquaBounty that its product can reach market weight in half the time as conventionally farmed salmon. The growth rates have not been examined in empirical studies, and salmon growers say farmed salmon can grow just as quickly. And the GE fish are prone to disease and deformities, which may lead to higher costs of production.

Consumer advocates are also concerned about AquaBounty statements that market resistant to genetically engineered salmon is hypothetical, especially after some major retailers have said they will not sell the product. Target, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Hy-Vee are some of the chains that have stated they will not carry the AquaBounty product.

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