Food & Water Watch has called on the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) to reject the stock registration filings of AquaBounty Technologies (ABTX), the maker of genetically engineered salmon, based on “misleading and erroneous claims the company is making in its attempt to join the NASDAQ stock exchange.” The letter asks the SEC to make AquaBounty revise their document, since new scientific evidence allegedly shows GMO salmon do not grow as quickly as AquaBounty claims, and that the fish experience unique diseases.
The letter was sent to Sean McKessy, Chief of the Office of the Whistleblower at the SEC. It claims that “omissions, errors, and false statements [were] found in Form 10 regulatory findings submitted to the SEC by AquaBounty Technologies.”
Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch said in a statement, “it’s one thing for AquaBounty to peddle fairy tales about its magical fish at industry conferences, but when you are play9ing with other people’s money, there’s no room for mythology. Investors need to know that GMO salmon doesn’t grow faster than conventional Atlantic salmon and that it may experience unique health issues, which raise environmental, animal health, and food safety concerns.”
The government of Canada recently released a risk assessment of the fish, which showed dramatically diminished growth rates of GMO salmon in the company’s facility. Hauter added, “again and again, we see that AquaBounty is unwilling to provide the public a truthful, accurate accounting of limits and risks of GMO salmon.”
The Canadian study found that these GMO salmon are more susceptible to a “type of disease-causing bacteria than are domesticated salmon,” according to the letter. The fish is more susceptible to A. salmonicida than domesticated salmon and is highly susceptible to Infectious Salmon Anemia virus.” This information was not disclosed to potential investors.
The GMO salmon is undergoing regulatory review by the FDA and isn’t being commercially produced yet. Consumer polls show opposition to this type of fish, and several major retail outlets, including Kroger and Safeway, have stated they will not offer it for sale in their stores.