Continuing their fight against genetically engineered salmon, Alaskan Congressman Don Young along with Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA) today introduced H.R. 1667, the Prevention of Escapement of Genetically Altered Salmon in the United States (PEGASUS) Act, aimed at keeping genetically engineered (GE) fish off the nation's dinner plates and away from our nation's oceans. This legislation comes in response to a proposal by AquaBounty Technologies to produce GE salmon for human consumption, currently under final consideration by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
"The FDA is reviewing genetically engineered salmon as if it were a new drug meant for animals. Using this type of review on a product meant for America's dinner plates is dead wrong. It fails to consider the possible dangers this genetically engineered product poses to natural salmon species and our nation's salmon industry,"Congressman Young said. "This legislation sends a clear message to federal regulators, shareholders of the companies producing genetically engineered salmon, and concerned consumers. Keep these fish out of our waters before they ruin what I think is one of the finest products in the world."
"We need sound science to make sure that these fish won't harm to our environment, our fishermen, and the health of our families," said Congressman Thompson. "Under the proposal being considered by the FDA, the way these fish would be evaluated isn't good enough, nor based on the best available science. Until that science is done, these fish shouldn't be in our waters or on our dinner plates."
"We need to keep genetically engineered salmon out of our oceans, rivers and streams--and off of our dinner plates," Congressman Huffman said. "GE salmon pose a danger to our wild salmon population, the ecosystems they live in and our commercial fisheries, and this bill is an important step towards protection of our families and coastal communities."
The PEGASUS Act would prohibit the shipment, sale, transportation, purchase, possession, or release in the wild of GE salmon or other GE finfish unless the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service complete a full environmental impact statement and find that it will result in no significant impact to the environment.
Currently, AquaBounty Technologies is in the final stages of the approval process toward selling GE salmon for commercial consumption. The proposed process would splice genetic material from the Chinook (King) salmon with that of a pout fish and Atlantic salmon. According to AquaBounty, the resulting organism would grow to the size of an Alaskan King salmon in a shorter period of time than found in nature.
This act serves as companion legislation to the PEGASUS Act introduced in the Senate by Senator Mark Begich with the support of Senator Lisa Murkowski at the beginning of the 113th Congress.
Earlier this year, Reps. Young, Thompson and Huffman introduced GE salmon labeling legislation that would require all genetically engineered (GE) fish sold for consumption to be labeled as such.