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Issue link: http://seafoodbusiness.epubxp.com/i/105616
Photo courtesy of AquaBounty U.S. News WASHINGTON, D.C. FDA assessment favorable for GM salmon; critics outraged A quaBounty Technologies, the Massachusettsbased company behind genetically modiﬁed salmon, is on track for federal approval for its fast-growing ﬁsh after a favorable environmental assessment by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Te agency reported in late December that the AquAdvantage ﬁsh "will not have any signiﬁcant impacts on the quality of the human environment of the United States." Importantly, FDA also found that the genetically modiﬁed (GM) salmon is unlikely to harm populations of natural salmon, a key concern for environmental activists. Tis could lead to ﬁnal approval of the ﬁrst GM ﬁsh in the world. "We are encouraged that the environmental assessment is being released, and hope the government continues the science-based regulatory process," says Ronald Stotish, AquaBounty CEO. Te approved environmental assessment is subject to a 60day public comment period. Te FDA's environmental assessment approval came just in the nick of time for the struggling technology ﬁrm, which said it would only have enough capital to continue operations until March. As a result, the technology company agreed to a shortterm bridge loan ﬁnancing of $500,000 to cover the company's working capital requirements earlier this month. Food & Water Watch (FWW) expressed concern that the FDA will not require proper labeling for GM salmon. "If people don't want to eat GM salmon and it is not labeled, what will that do for the demand for salmon?" says Patty Lovera, assistant director of FWW. More than 40 members of Congress and scientists at other federal agencies, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, also voiced strong opposition to GM salmon, citing the lack of scientiﬁc rigor and expertise at the FDA. "Te notion that consuming Frankenﬁsh is safe for the public and our oceans is a joke," says U.S. Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), chairman of the senate subcommittee on oceans and ﬁsheries. "I will ﬁght tooth and nail with my Alaska colleagues to make sure consumers have a clear choice when it comes to wild and sustainable versus labgrown science projects." Consumers Union, the advocacy and policy arm of Consumer Reports magazine, says the FDA's positive assessment of genetically engineered salmon is "ﬂawed and inadequate." NOAA to address 10 nations engaged in IUU fishing IUU ﬁshing represents one of the biggest threats to the U.S. ﬁshing industry," says Russell Smith, NOAA deputy assistant secretary for international ﬁsheries. NOAA says Colombia, Ecuador, Ghana, Italy, Mexico, Panama, the Republic of Korea, Spain, Tanzania and Venezuela had vessels that did not comply in 2011 and/or 2012 with conservation and management measures. Mexico was also identiﬁed for ineﬀective management of the bycatch of endangered North Paciﬁc loggerhead sea turtles, which are protected under the Endangered Species Act. clear it did not represent shrimp ﬁshermen, but indicated that the coalition handles more than 90 percent of domestic shrimp landings, and that dumping aﬀects the entire U.S. shrimp industry. Under World Trade Organization (WTO) law, the United States, if it has enough evidence that the dumping practice is happening, has the right to impose countervailing duties on shrimp from those countries in order to balance prices. Vietnam asked WTO to appoint a panel of arbitrators to rule on the dispute, while India will legally challenge the petition. Te Seafood Exporters Association of India sent representatives to Washington last month. Te Southern Shrimp Alliance also intends to participate in the investigation, and ﬁled papers with the International Trade Commission last month. NOAA identiﬁed 10 nations whose ﬁshing vessels engaged in illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) ﬁshing in the past two years and will start consultations with them to address bycatch and other unsustainable practices. NOAA cites independent experts' estimations of economic losses worldwide from IUU ﬁshing to be between $10 billion and $23 billion annually. "Tis is about leveling the playing ﬁeld for ﬁshermen around the world, and Facts & FIGURES 5 24.4 16 Billions of dollars in Indonesia's seafood exports to the United States forecast for 2013 by the nation's Fishery and Marine Ministry Percent of India's seafood exports that were sent to the United States, its top market, from April to September 2012 Percent decline of U.S. seafood exports to China through September 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture 8 SeaFood Business February 2013 BILOXI, Miss. U.S. shrimp processors allege widespread dumping U.S.-based shrimp processors are asking the government for countervailing duties against shrimp imports from seven countries, alleging that each country is guilty of "dumping." Te Coalition of Gulf Shrimp Industries ﬁled a petition on behalf of its 28 member companies, all shrimp processors based in Texas, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Te petition accuses China, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Tailand and Vietnam of subsidizing their shrimp industries. Te coalition alleges this practice has given imported shrimp from those countries an unfair advantage over domestic shrimp. Te petition made For updated NEWS, go to www.SeafoodSource.com