Genetically engineered salmon is fit for dinner, FDA says in first decision of its kind – LA Times

Sometimes government agencies get it wrong. This is one of those times. Now we, the consumers, have to continue to just say no to farmed salmon, and demand wild fish. Only consumers can stop the industry, which has apparently manipulated through it’s lobbying efforts the highest levels of the FDA. This is a bad decision, for the environment, for consumers, and for fish. Why? It’s not that you might keel over by eating this fish. It’s about the entire ecosystem that is created to support this new animal. Have long term studies been done? I’ve not seen any. Has anyone questioned whether the feed and antibiotics that may be needed to support this creature are passed through to diners? Or what their effects on the environment might be under the pens that raise these? NOAA, which has certified these pens, only looks at the short term effects of the pens on the bottom directly under the pens. The science behind this is skewed in the favor of the farms, not the environment or the consumer. 


Perhaps that last breed does not evoke images of ancient and frigid headwaters in Alaska or Arctic Canada, where wild salmon spawn every year, or even the humble hatcheries that produce less expensive species consumed by millions of people. But on Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration announced that the AquAdvantage salmon — developed using growth hormone from Chinook salmon and a gene from an eel-like ocean fish that makes it reach market size twice as quickly as other salmon — has become the first genetically engineered animal approved for American consumption. AquaBounty Technologies Inc., the Massachusetts company that created the fish, calls it “the world’s most sustainable salmon.” Opponents call it “Frankenfish.” The FDA, which was accused of delaying the decision for years amid public concern, now says you can call it dinner. William Yardley reports. (LA Times)

 http://touch.latimes.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-85096654/

Wild Fish Conservancy intends to sue EPA, NMFS over farmed salmon in Puget Sound

Very glad to see the Wild Fish Conservancy take this preliminary action to begin the notification of their intent to sue Federal government agencies over their evaluations of the endangered species act. If you want to see farmed salmon banned in Puget Sound, you might want to donate to the Conservancy to help their lawsuit.

Tuesday August 25, 2015- Today, Wild Fish Conservancy sent a 60-day Notice of Intent to sue the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for violations of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) associated with the agencies’ evaluation of the harmful effects to threatened salmonids from commercial salmon farming in Puget Sound.

In 2008, EPA consulted with NMFS under section 7 of the ESA on the effects of revisions to Washington Sediment Management Standards intended to enable commercial salmon farms in Puget Sound to be permitted under the Clean Water Act.  Despite the known harm and significant risks these facilities pose to wild salmonids, NMFS determined that EPA’s action is not likely to adversely affect protected species. The ESA consultation thus concluded without preparation of a biological opinion that would fully evaluate the effects of salmon farms and impose monitoring and other requirements designed to protect wild salmonids.

Wild Fish Conservancy challenged the 2008 consultation as insufficient under the ESA.  The Court found the 2008 consultation inadequate and set aside EPA’s approval of the revised Sediment Management Standards and further ordered EPA and NMFS to reconsider whether preparation of a biological opinion is required.

EPA reinitiated ESA consultation with NMFS in 2010.  Remarkably, NMFS again determined that the Puget Sound commercial salmon farms are not likely to adversely affect threatened salmonids and declined to prepare a biological opinion.
IHN Bainbridge
In May of 2012, there was a major outbreak of the infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus(IHNV) at the commercial salmon complexes near Rich Passage at the southern end of Bainbridge Island.  The outbreak occurred at a time when juvenile salmonids were migrating through the nearshore environment near the commercial salmon facilities. It can hardly be disputed that this disease outbreak adversely affected threatened salmonids—or, at a minimum, demonstrates that commercial salmon farms in Puget Sound may adversely affect ESA-listed species.

“Atlantic salmon farms pose an unacceptable health risk to ESA-listed wild salmon in Puget Sound,” said Kurt Beardslee, executive director of Wild Fish Conservancy.  “By not fully evaluating the impacts of these farms, EPA and NMFS are in clear violation of the Endangered Species Act.”

The groups are represented by Kampmeier & Knutsen, PLLC, in Seattle, WA and Portland, OR.

Court Filing: 60 Day Notice of Intent to Sue Letter, August 25, 2015

http://wildfishconservancy.org/about/press-room/press-releases/environmental-protection-agency-national-marine-fisheries-service-violating-endangered-species-act

60 Minutes documents BC salmon farming

And the industry does not come off well. While the opening interview with salmon farming manager Ian Roberts paints a ‘normal’ picture of the industry, much to their credit, 60 minutes Dr. Gupta works in Alexandra Morton and her concerns, along with Alaskan wild salmon supporters. When he finally gets around to interviewing a government official, Brian Wallace, he comes off totally inadequate to the task of defending the government’s inaction in the face of real scientific concern.

Based on this, and the rest of the scientific information that we have presented here over the last years, is it any wonder why our county commissioners have fought to create a moratorium on salmon farming in our county until more science is brought to the table on this issue?

Or is it any wonder why we have been so critical of the Washington State Department of Ecology and NOAA in their bureaucratic stance that net pen aquaculture is fine, based on 25 year old science?  The recently resigned Ted Sturdevant, highlighted here just yesterday, was a typical bureaucratic supporter of the industry, and stonewalled county efforts to bring even a moratorium over the last five years.

Watch the 60 Minute segment here:

http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/saving-the-wild-salmon/

NOAA: Coastal ocean aquaculture can be environmentally sustainable little to no effects

This came out in December but was just brought to my attention. I think this officially opens a political battle. Prior to this, NOAA was pretty much not actively taking sides in this. With this campaign on their part, they appear to becoming a wing of the public relations people of the fish farm industry. To be clear: NOAA is a huge agency, with lots of different departments, and they are under the Department of Commerce, not environmental protection. This comes interestingly enough, at a time when there is a great deal of criticism of NOAA for it’s policies on net pen aquaculture here in the state.

http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2013/20131218_aquaculture.html

NOAA web site on fish farming

B.C. fish farmers see opportunity as DFO lifts license freeze – Vancouver Sun

The sordid story in B.C. goes on, with the Federal government ignoring the warnings of it’s own commission. The electorate of the country needs to be the ones to act on this. The Government is clearly not going to do anything to stop the industry.

The lifting a moratorium on new fish-farm applications on British Columbia’s coast won’t lead to “a free-for-all” of new requests, according to an industry spokeswoman. Ottawa put applications on hold in 2011 while the Cohen Commission investigating the state of Pacific salmon fishery. However, Fisheries Minister Gail Shea quietly lifted the freeze several months ago.

 

http://www.vancouversun.com/business/fish+farmers+opportunity+lifts+licence+freeze/9392430/story.html

Alexandra Morton – What We Accomplished in 2013

Alexandra Morton is the leading independent researcher into net pen salmon and the diseases these fish are carrying to the wild stocks on Vancouver Island. She is standing in front of a juggernaut industry that has bought the Canadian government’s approval. Here is an overview of what she accomplished last year, and an appeal to those of us who worry that this nightmare is heading our way, to help fund her efforts. It will only happen if we do it folks. The average person out there does not even know of this threat, and continues to eat farmed salmon. Why is this important? Because there are hundreds of millions of dollars being spent to restore wild stocks, and the farmed salmon industry is buying it’s way forward, regardless of consumer demand, government concerns or scientific research that shows incredible threats to the wild stocks.

Watch her short overview, and help if you can, even if all of us only gave $10 a piece, we could get enough to help Ms. Morton move keep up the good work.

Alexandra Morton – What We Accomplished in 2013

Report from the Front: Alexandra Morton’s latest video

Lots of news on the farmed salmon front lately. The  world’s leading scientist working on educating the public on this threat, Ms. Alexandra Morton of Canada, has a new video covering the several disturbing bits of news regarding salmon farming. From Canada’s taking down of the Cohen Commission’s comprehensive web site (the government spent $26M on the commission!), to a new genetically modified salmon, to the EU failing to properly protect the public from high levels of toxins in Norwegian farmed salmon, this 9 minute video is worth a short break from your day.

It’s more clear than ever that saying no to farmed salmon is the right thing to do, and that their industry looks more and more like nuclear power, a failed experiment that just won’t go away because there is too much money at stake.

http://alexandramorton.typepad.com/alexandra_morton/2013/11/looking-more-than-a-little-dodgy.html

%d bloggers like this: