Photo: Melissa Doroquez
A company that developed the first genetically modified salmon, a product still not approved for sale in the U.S, has announced 4.5 tons of filets have already been sold in Canada.
U.S. biotech firm AquaBounty spliced a growth hormone gene from a Chinook salmon into an Atlantic salmon and turned it up to overdrive.
The so-called AquaAdvantage fish, which opponents pejoratively call Frankenfish, grow up to six times faster than their wild peers and reach market weight in half the time.
The US Food and Drug Administration cleared transgenic salmon for sale in the fall of 2015, but it still has to get through labeling and other regulatory hurdles before it reaches shelves in the US.
Advocacy groups have pressured major US grocers to spurn the fast-growing salmon publicly.
Groups including the Food and Water Watch, the Center for Food Safety and the Consumer’s Union have warned that the product could pose yet-unseen health risks and environmental damage if it escaped from fish farms into the wild.
AquaBounty raised the fish in tanks in a small facility in Panama and plans to expand a site on Canada’s Prince Edward Island after receiving local government approval in June.