Organic Consumers Association

California Votes for Genetically Engineered Fish

February 11, 2003

California fish commission votes in favour of transgenic fish - special conditions apply

Seattle (WA), USA: The California Fish and Game Commission adopted rules on Friday that allow transgenic fish into the state under special permit conditions. According to the new rules - passed unanimously by the commission - genetically modified fish may be imported, transported, possessed, reared or researched in California as long as they are kept in a closed-water system or one that does not allow the inadvertent release of live fish.

The release of these aquatic animals or their progeny is prohibited. The commission also stipulated that access to facilities containing transgenic fish must be restricted and that the fish can only be moved under a specific permit. Furthermore, aquatic animals that commingle with transgenic fish are to be considered transgenic and barred from state waters, the department stated.

Friday's vote comes on the heels of a failed attempt last fall by some members of the California state legislature to ban transgenic fish in the sunshine state. While there are currently no transgenic fish on the US market, Waltham, MA-based Aqua Bounty Farms is applying to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to market genetically-modified (GM) Atlantic salmon.

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