More than three years after the FDA approved, for the first time, a genetically engineered animal as safe to eat, the government opened the door for AquaBounty Technologies to grow and sell its GE salmon in the United States. A biotech trade group said the fish, which developers say grows twice as fast as as conventional Atlantic salmon on 25-percent less feed, will "contribute to a more sustainable food supply."
Republicans claim the House version of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, a.k.a. the fish bill, would strike “a proper balance between the biological needs of fish stocks and the economic needs of fishermen.” Environmentalists disagree. As the fight moves to the Senate, we look at five ways the House bill could damage fisheries management. (No paywall)
Despite a last-ditch effort by a group of radical conservationists, the vaquita — a small porpoise found only in Mexico’s Gulf of California — is going extinct, and will likely disappear this year, reports Ben Goldfarb in FERN’s latest story, published with Pacific Standard. No paywall
The state Fish and Game Commission voted unanimously to ban sport fishing of abalone in Northern California in 2018 in an attempt to preserve the imperiled marine snail, said the San Francisco Chronicle.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross sided with New Jersey and broke longstanding protocol on a regional approach to preservation of the summer flounder, one of the most-fished species in the Northeast, says the Boston Globe. By rejecting the recommendations of a commission that oversees fishing issues on the East Coast — an unprecedented step — Ross raised "deep concerns about political meddling" and effectively will allow New Jersey to harvest more flounder, it says.
Already down to 2 percent of their historic high, Pacific Bluefin tuna are struggling to rebuild their population as Japanese fishermen reach their annual quota two months early — with no plans to slow down the catch, reports The Guardian.
Writer Paul Greenberg set out to eat three meals a day of fish for a year. Now he’s revealing what happened to his health and his views on sustainable fisheries on a special edition of PBS’ Frontline. “Almost half the fish and shellfish consumed in the world is now farmed — is that helpful or harmful?” asks Greenberg, who is currently a Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation and has written for FERN, including a piece called the “Fisherman’s Dilemma,” about a radical effort to protect California's fisheries.
Eight of the biggest seafood companies in the world pledged to report and reduce illegal catches and root out endangered species from their supply chain, says Reuters. The firms also promised to end slave labor and reduce antibiotics in aquaculture.