AquaBounty kicks off first harvest of GMO salmon in Indiana plant
By Nestor Arellano
AquaBounty Technologies ended decades of waiting and development of its genetically modified salmon yesterday with the launch of the company’s first harvest of AquVantage salmon in Indiana.
“This is an incredibly exciting moment, 26 years in the making…Our first round of harvest will go on today and throughout this week,” said Sylvia Wulf, president and chief executive officer of AquaBounty. “We are now in, or soon to be in commercial production.”
Speaking at a virtual press conference, the AquaBounty chief said the company aims to produce 100 metric tons of its AquVantage branded salmon from its Indiana facility. Wulf said there is “lots of in-bound interest” about the fish from distributors and customers.
The company is also raising the GMO salmon in another land-based farm in Rollo Bay, Prince Edward Island in Canada.
AquaBounty initially planned to begin the first harvest of the fish in late 2020.
“The impact of COVID pushed it from December to now,” said Wulf. “But it turned out advantageous to the customers and the fish.”
The company’s AquAdvantage fish program is based upon a single, specific molecular modification in fish that results in more rapid growth in early development compared to conventional salmon. This means that the company has the potential to raise fish to market weight in less time than its competitors who are not raising GM fish.
In 2018, as AquaBounty was introducing the fish to the public, the company sold five tons of AquAdvantage salmon fillets in Canada. Yesterday, Wulf once more spoke to allay fears around AquVantage and said it is “safe, secure, and sustainable.”
Wulf also said the company is in the “final stages of its due diligence” in choosing a location for its second large fish farm in the United States.