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Legislature takes stand against genetically modified salmon

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Posted: Tuesday, March 26, 2013 11:54 pm | Updated: 11:56 pm, Tue Mar 26, 2013.

JUNEAU — The Legislature passed a resolution against genetically modified salmon on Monday, sending a message to federal government that Alaska opposes the so-called “frankenfish.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is in the process of reviewing whether genetically modified salmon are fit for the market, raising concerns about food safety and risks to wild salmon stocks.

The Legislature joins the state’s congressional delegation, governor and a wide array of fishing and consumer groups against AquaBounty Technology’s application to sell salmon to consumers.

“There are concerns about whether the genetically modified salmon is safe for human consumption and concerns about possible threats to wild salmon stocks and the salmon industry,” said Rep. Geran Tarr, D-Anchorage, and author of the resolution.

The genetically engineered salmon in question grow twice as fast as wild salmon.

The resolution is the first item sponsored by a Democrat to pass both the House and the Senate. It had the support of both Republican and Democratic Interior delegation members.

“After working on this issue last year, I’m happy to see that the Legislature passed this resolution in a timely manner to meet the deadline to comment for the FDA,” said Rep. Scott Kawasaki, D-Fairbanks, one of the sponsors of the resolution.

The resolution passed the Senate on Monday with unanimous support from the House. It was carried on the floor by Soldotna Republican Sen. Peter Micciche.

“I’m not sure how you feel about feeding your family an experiment,” he said on the floor. “It’s certainly not a choice I’m willing to take.”

Contact staff writer Matt Buxton at 459-7544 and follow him on Twitter: @FDNMpolitics.

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