Alaska's senators are
making a last minute push against geneticallyengineered- also called GE- fish.
The Food and Drug Administration is expected to approve Massachusetts-based
AquaBounty's application to commercialize GE fish. If that happens GE fish
could be found in grocery stores across the country.
Mark Begich has introduced the Prevention of Escapement of Genetically Altered
Salmon in the United States
or PEGASUS Act. If the act passes, genetically engineered fish will fall in the
same category as guns, medical marijuana, health insurance sales and raw milk:
All things you can't take across state lines. The exact language says it would
be unlawful to "ship, transport, offer for sale, sell, or purchase genetically
altered salmon or other marine fish, or a product containing genetically
altered salmon or other marine fish, in interstate or foreign commerce."Begich
says his major concerns regarding the approval of GE fish are jobs and
sustainable fisheries. His bill covers all the bases. It even includes language
that would make it illegal to be holding GE fish with the intent to distribute.
Lisa Murkowski has introduced an amendment to the 2012 Agriculture
Appropriations bill that would prohibit the use of federal funds by the FDA to
approve AquaBounty's application. She says proponents of GE fish have a slim
chance to convince her that the fish are a good idea.
amendment to ban funding failed to clear the Senate agriculture committee last
month, but the Young-Woolsey amendment- which is similarly worded- was approved
by the House in June. A representative from AquaBounty refused to comment on
the proposed legislation until after it was voted on.
FDA announced last week that it has completed its evaluation of the
environmental impact of GE fish and has expressed support for its sale in the
U.S. AquaBounty has not asked for approval to grow the GE fish in the U.S., as
they plan to produce the GE salmon eggs in Prince Edward Island, Canada, and
then ship the eggs to Panama for growing and processing. By manufacturing the
fish outside of the U.S.
they avoided a full environmental impact review. The evaluation is currently
being reviewed by the White House's Office of Management and Budget.