Alaska senators introduce bills to ban 'Frankenfish,' protect wild salmon

The Prevention of Escapement of Genetically Altered Salmon in the United States (Pegasus) Act, S. 246, would make it illegal to produce, sell or ship genetically engineered salmon in the United States unless the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) finds that it wouldn’t negatively affect the natural fish population.

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Begich said he is worries that if “Frankenfish” are accidentally released in the wild, that they could become an invasive species and threaten the wild salmon population of the United States.

“The potential that genetically engineered salmon might escape into the wild, interbreed with wild stocks, and compete with those stocks for food would be a disaster not only for wild salmon, but also for the broader ecosystems in which they live,” Begich said. “The FDA lacks the expertise to judge the impact of escaped Frankenfish on wild salmon stocks but these potential impacts must be understood before its production is allowed.”

Murkowski and Begich also introduced S. 248, which would require any genetically engineered salmon product to be labeled as genetically engineered.

“We have scientists splicing fish DNA with an antifreeze-like chemical compound and considering feeding that to Americans,” Murkowski said. “That kind of idea didn’t work out so well in ‘Jurassic Park’ and I don’t think we should be going down that dangerous road with a perfect natural brain food like salmon."

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