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Saturday, January 04, 2020 1:00 am

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Hoosier fish farm spawns controversy

By next fall, the fresh-caught salmon you select might be from – 60 miles south of Fort Wayne?

The Star Press updates the work at AquaBounty Technologies in Albany, just northeast of Muncie. The land-based fish farm is producing the first genetically modified animals approved for human consumption in the U.S.

The company's first batch of conventional Atlantic salmon, started in June of 2018, is progressing and should be harvested beginning in the third quarter of this year.

AquaBounty's biggest challenge comes from Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who has worked to block genetically engineered salmon. Her office told the the Star Press her efforts were intended to ensure clear labeling of genetically engineered salmon. But AquaBounty CEO Sylvia Wulf said that's not the case.

“The senator's feigned attempt at consumer concern is a smoke screen for her decade-long campaign to financially cripple a small company with an innovative way to combat the negative effects of climate change, which is a more significant threat to Alaska's salmon fishery than a faster-growing salmon,” Wulf said. “Putting 30 people out of work in Indiana will not solve her problem.”

Both Indiana Sens. Todd Young and Mike Braun have criticized the regulatory limits placed on the company. In a letter, they warned proposed limits would set “a troubling precedent regarding the function and authority of federal regulatory agencies. There are a great number of important agriculture innovations in the research, development and regulatory pipeline behind the bioengineered salmon. To effectively ban a first-in-class product for no legitimate reason will cast a chilling effect on the willingness or ability of other researchers and developers to invest in the United States.”


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