Washington, D.C.—Food & Water Watch called on the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) today to reject the stock registration filings of AquaBounty Technologies (ABTX), the maker of genetically engineered salmon, based on misleading and erroneous claims the company is making in its attempts to join the NASDAQ stock exchange. The letter asks SEC to compel AquaBounty to revise the document to apprise investors of new scientific evidence showing that GMO salmon cannot grow as quickly as AquaBounty claims and also experience unique disease concerns.
“It’s one thing for AquaBounty to peddle fairy tales about its magical fish at industry conferences, but when you are playing with other people’s money, there’s no room for mythology,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. “Investors need to know that GMO salmon doesn’t grow faster than conventional Atlantic salmon and that it may experience unique health issues, which raise environmental, animal health and food safety concerns.”
Food & Water Watch’s complaint letter highlights the findings of a recently released Canadian government risk assessment of GMO salmon, which noted dramatically diminished growth rates of GMO salmon in the company’s commercial facility.This finding adds to the evidence that GMO salmon cannot grow more quickly than existing commercially produced Atlantic salmon, contrary to AquaBounty’s claims.
“If investors want to put their money into GMO salmon, that’s their prerogative, but they need all the facts,” said Hauter. “Again and again, we see that AquaBounty is unwilling to provide the public a truthful, accurate accounting of limits and risks of GMO salmon.”
Today’s complaint letter follows several others that Food & Water Watch submitted to the SEC, which noted AquaBounty’s failure to alert investors about a major disease outbreak with GMO salmon and also a $9,500 fine that the company paid for environmental safety violations. After Food & Water Watch highlighted these and other omissions, misstatements and misleading information that would harm investors, AquaBounty amended its SEC filings several times.
“The reality is there is no appetite for this fish,” said Hauter. “Even if the FDA approves it, the salmon industry has stated that it won’t produce GMO salmon, and consumer polls show widespread public opposition.”
AquaBounty’s GMO salmon is currently undergoing regulatory review by the FDA and not yet in commercial production. No regulatory agency anywhere in the world has declared GMO salmon safe to eat.
Contact: Kate Fried, Food & Water Watch, (202) 683-4905, kfried(at)fwwatch(dot)org
Food & Water Watch champions healthy food and clean water for all. We stand up to corporations that put profits before people, and advocate for a democracy that improves people’s lives and protects our environment.