The first harvest of genetically-engineered salmon raised in fish tanks in the Delaware County town of Albany is set for later this month. Massachusetts-based AquaBounty Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: AQB) says purchase orders have been received for the initial five metric ton harvest.
Aquabounty purchased the fish farm from Bell Fish Co. in 2017, but it did receive federal regulatory approval until 2018 to raise GE salmon. Production began the following year.
Aquabounty is the only company with regulatory approval to raise GE Atlantic salmon by both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Health Canada. It has been seven years since Aquabounty received FDA approval.
While Aquabounty has received regulatory approval, the company has critics for using genetic engineering technology to raise fish. Opponents are concerned about the risk of exposure to wild salmon populations.
But the aquaculture company says with its on-land fish farms, as opposed to ocean cages, the company is taking necessary bio-security measures to protect native salmon.
“The AquaBounty strategy for facility design and operation is driven by important considerations for the health of salmon,” said Aquabounty Chief Executive Officer Sylvia Wulf. “Our goal is to provide a delicious salmon that is produced in a secure and sustainable manner and raised right here in the United States.”
The company says the salmon are free of antibiotics and ocean contaminants.
AquaBounty says its GE salmon reach harvest weight faster and more efficiently than conventional salmon grown in sea cages.