WASHINGTON, D.C. – In response to the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) decision to award a $494,162 grant to AquaBounty Technologies, Alaska Congressman Don Young and Congressman Peter DeFazio (OR) sent a letter today to the USDA asking them to rescind the grant immediately. The grant was awarded as part of the Biotechnology Research Assessment Grants (BRAG) program which aims to help organizations research and assess risks of new biotechnology projects.
“The USDA should not be in the business of picking winners and losers,” said Rep. Young. “Propping up a company who has already researched and developed their technologies should not be the business of the federal government. This company is not losing money due to a lack of research; they are losing money because Americans prefer Wild Salmon over Frankenfish. This issue is very important to me and I will continue to lead the fight in Congress against the approval of genetically engineered fish in any form.”
“We’ve recently found a deadly fish virus apparently from fish farmed from the East Coast. We cannot tolerate additional threats to our valuable wild salmon stocks,” said Rep. DeFazio. “This grant needs to be reconsidered. GE Salmon threatens our fishing and coastal communities, our food source, and already depleted wild salmon populations. The USDA should put the interests and safety of our ocean resources above special interests.”
There has been strong Congressional opposition to the approval of genetically engineered (GE) fish, most notably during last year’s Agriculture Appropriations bill. Congressman Young
was successful in passing an amendment to H.R. 2112
, the Agriculture Appropriations Act of 2012 which banned the FDA from considering genetically modified salmon as an animal drug.