FDA extends consideration of disputed ‘Frankenfish’ plan

FDA has issued a draft environmental assessment concluding that AquaBounty’s fish were identical to traditional salmon and pose no threat to people or the environment. But opponents still question the science, and fear there the salmon could escape their designated fisheries and move into open water, a scenario that they say has untold consequences.

“It could have a harmful effect on the entire fishing industry,” Murkowski spokesman Matthew Felling said, noting that an anti-freeze element is used in the splicing process. 

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The assessment was published for public consideration in late December. Murkowski complained that the timing was poor, and asked for an extension.

“The Friday before Christmas, the Food and Drug Administration announced they were moving forward with the approval process on Frankenfish by opening the comment period — this at a time when everyone understandably has their mind on the holidays and the Congress is in a transition period,” Murkowski said.

On Wednesday, FDA issued a notice announcing the extension public comment period, citing the calls for additional time. The public now has until April 26 to tell the agency whether they want the chance to eat the genetically engineered fish.