While genetically modified (GMO) fruits and vegetables have been on supermarket shelves for sometime, a genetically modified salmon was approved this spring as the first ever genetically altered animal for human consumption. Produced by AquaBounty Technologies, the AquAdvantage Salmon is an Atlantic salmon that was altered using genes from a Pacific Chinook salmon as well as a deep water ocean eelpout to grow twice as fast as wild salmon and non-modified farm raised salmon. The FDA approved the salmon genetic altering as the use of "animal drugs" and over a dozen fishing and environmental groups have filed suit over that approval, alleging that the FDA does not have the ability to approve genetic modification and that it isn't the same as approving a medication or other substance.
The groups are represented by the Center for Food Safety and EarthJustice and they allege that the FDA, has ignored the possible risks to the environment, to wild salmon and their habitats as well fishing communities. In addition the groups are concerned that the FDA did not notify wildlife agencies in approving the fish for human consumption. Environmentalists are concerned that the transgenic fish could be a danger to the environment of wild salmon if they were to escape. AquaBounty has said that will not happen, since the fish are raised on land, in fish farms, far from salmon habitats.