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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Aquaculture' Category


Study Finds GE Salmon Able to Cross-Breed with Brown Trout

(Beyond Pesticides, June 3, 2013) A new study, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society, found that genetically engineered (GE) AquaBounty AquaAdvantage salmon can successfully cross-breed with brown trout, a closely related species. GE salmon, created by the biotech company AquaBounty, are designed to reach maturity faster than their wild counterparts and would be the first GE animal approved for human consumption in the United States. As a result of this study, the authors “…suggest that interspecific hybridization be explicitly considered when assessing the environmental consequences should transgenic animals escape to nature.” The study not only found that GE salmon can cross-breed with brown trout, but also that their GE hybrid offspring could outgrow wild salmon, non-GE hybrid offspring, and even GE salmon. The GE hybrids also out-competed wild salmon and GE salmon in simulated stream environments, further stunting the growth of other fish. According to Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of Center for Food Safety, “This study highlights yet another ecological risk of these hazardous genetically engineered fish. The FDA’s [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] attempt to approve these gene altered fish without even analyzing these irreversible impacts on our native salmon and trout populations is unlawful and a gross […]



Seafood Company Commits To Limit Pesticide Use

(Beyond Pesticides, May 22, 2013) Norwegian seafood production company, Marine Harvest, has committed to certify its salmon farms by 2020  to the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) Salmon Standard, with the condition that they  begin tightening restrictions of pesticide use and move from caged systems in coastal waters to closed containment systems. As the world’s largest producer of farmed salmon, responsible for 25% to 30% of the global salmon and trout production the move marks an important shift toward sustainable production of their fish products. The ASC Salmon Standard, an accreditation scheme developed and promoted by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), requires members to  diminish the use of toxic chemicals, address sourcing of feed ingredients, diminish the transmission of disease to wild salmon populations, control the escape of farmed salmon, reduce the use of antibiotics and genetically engineered products, and finaly address the labor issues on salmon farms. As of now Marine Harvest has only committed to accredit its fish farms within the United Kingdom, although they also produce fish in Norway, Canada, the Faroe Islands, Ireland and Chile. The company’s move follows on the heels of recent media attention that revealed the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) had  found up […]



Pesticide Makers Win Bid to Overturn Pesticide Restrictions

(Beyond Pesticides, February 27, 2013) Last week a U.S. Court of Appeals found that pesticide restrictions to protect endangered salmon and steelhead proposed by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in its Biological Opinion (BiOp) were “arbitrary and capricious,” supporting Dow AgroSciences LLC and other pesticide makers’ claims that the restrictions were based on “unsupported assumptions and conclusions.” The BiOp concluded that the pesticides chlorpyrifos, malathion and diazinon, three of the most highly toxic pesticides still in use, pose risks to salmon, steelhead and their habitat. In collaboration with NMFS, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is tasked with implementation of any recommended pesticide restrictions to satisfy the mandate under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). However, to date, EPA has not taken any actions to implement any of the proposed measures to protect endangered salmon and steelhead, in part due to challenges from industry. Dow AgroScience LLC, Makhteshim Agan of North America, Inc., and Cheminova, Inc. USA first filed a suit in 2009 (Dow Agrosciences v. National Marine Fisheries ), challenging the NMFS’ 2008 BiOp to restrict  chlorpyrifos, malathion and diazinon as being based on numerous unsupported assumptions and conclusions, and faulty analyses. The U.S. District Court […]



FDA Moves Forward on Genetically Engineered Salmon

(Beyond Pesticides, January 3, 2012) On December 21, just as everyone was gearing up for the holidays, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced its release of a Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) and Preliminary Finding of No Significant Impact on the genetically engineered (GE) AquaBounty AquaAdvantage salmon. The FDA action is widely viewed as confirmation that the Obama Administration is prepared to approve shortly the first GE animal intended for human consumption in the face of widespread opposition from the public. “It is extremely disappointing that the Obama Administration continues to push approval of this dangerous and unnecessary product,” said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director for Center for Food Safety. “The GE salmon has no socially redeeming value; it’s bad for the consumer, bad for the salmon industry and bad for the environment. FDA’s decision is premature and misguided.” AquaBounty claims that the company’s process for raising GE fish is safer than traditional aquaculture, yet documents released by the Canadian government show that a new strain of Infectious Salmon Anaemia, the deadly fish flu which has been devastating fish stocks around the world, contaminated their Canadian production site. This information was not included in the FDA’s review and hidden from […]



Petitioners Press FDA to Complete Environmental Impact Statement on GE Salmon

(Beyond Pesticides, June 11, 2012) More than one year after petitioning the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to complete a mandatory environmental impact statement on the first-ever genetically engineered (GE) fish intended for human consumption, Earthjustice has submitted a letter on behalf of its co-petitioners urging the agency to meet its obligation promptly. The letter points out that FDA is prohibited from acting on the application to raise and release into commerce genetically engineered salmon until the agency has completed a comprehensive environmental risk assessment on the fish. Earthjustice filed the petition on May 25, 2011 along with Ocean Conservancy, Friends of the Earth, Center for Food Safety, Food & Water Watch, the Center for International Environmental Law, and Greenpeace. In addition to reminding FDA of its obligation to complete the risk assessment, the petitioners also ask the agency to improve its process for reviewing these kinds of applications to commercialize GE animals to address environmental threats and public concerns at a much earlier stage. FDA has held off on taking decisive action on the application from Massachusetts-based AquaBounty Technologies, which has been seeking approval to sell its GE salmon product in the U.S. for more than a decade. […]



Private Canadian Organic Aquaculture Standard Released

(Beyond Pesticides, May 11, 2012) The Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) has released the final version of the Canadian Organic Aquaculture Standard, a non-binding system for certifying farmed fish outside of official Canadian organic standards. The final standard is a revised form of a draft standard first proposed in 2010, which was subject to severe criticism from environmental advocates. The standard has been developed independently of Canadian organic standards for agriculture and is not currently included in official government regulations regarding organic agriculture. The release comes less than two weeks before the U.S. National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) will meet to discuss, among other topics, the ongoing process of developing a standard for organic aquaculture in the United States. The new standard was developed by under the auspices of the Canadian National Standards Board and is purely voluntary. In Canada, as in the U.S., fish are are explicitly excluded from federal organic regulations. This means that there can be no official, government-approved organic fish in either country currently. However, this also means that there is nothing stopping private entities from creating their own standard for certifying fish as “organic” according to whatever definition they choose. The fish can then be […]



New Rule on Conventional Aquaculture Raises Concern for Environment, Organic Standards

(Beyond Pesticides, June 16, 2011) The Department of Commerce, along with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Fisheries Service, announced late last week a final aquaculture policy which would ease restrictions to make it easier to farm fish in federal waters, drawing criticism from environmental groups due to the harmful environmental impacts of raising fish in pens in open waters. According to Food and Water Watch, offshore aquaculture follows an industrial agriculture model which grows thousands of animals in a confined environment. For fish, however, this confined space is in the ocean, meaning all of the waste products from the operation flow directly into the ocean. This includes excess feed and chemicals that are used, such as antibiotics and pesticides, to treat or prevent disease that occurs when fish are in confinement. Another major concern is the possibility of escaped farmed fish, which can compete with and interbreed with wild fish. Though the Department of Commerce and NOAA are pushing these new policies as a way to “meet the growing demand for healthy seafood,” factory fish farming, as Food and Water Watch points out, is primarily focused on carnivorous fish including salmon and tuna. These carnivorous fish require a […]