Aqua Bounty in limbo in US as losses grow
AQUA Bounty, the Canadian farmer of transgenic salmon, reported a net loss for the first nine months of 2018 of $7.96 million, up from $6.60 million in the corresponding period of the previous year.
The company, headquartered in Prince Edward Island, attributed the downfall to pre-production and production costs at its land based salmon farm in Indiana, in the US, and to R&D activities at its Canadian hatchery.
Aqua Bounty has begun rearing traditional Atlantic salmon eggs at this farm while waiting for approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to import its AquAdvantage salmon eggs.
The US authorities have already approved AquaAdvantage salmon for consumption in the US but the company is in limbo until the FDA decides how the fish should be labelled.
The company, which has spent more than 20 years pioneering genetically modified salmon that can grow faster than conventional farmed stocks, has finalised a loan of CA$2 million (US$1.6 million) from the Department of Economic Development of Prince Edward Island.
This will be used to complete construction of the company’s 250 tonne production facility at its Rollo Bay hatchery in Prince Edward Island.
Ronald Stotish, CEO of AquaBounty, said: ‘In this quarter, we commenced grow-out of non-transgenic Atlantic salmon at our site in Albany, Indiana, which will allow us to begin utilising this facility and to make any necessary adjustments to our processes or standard operating procedures while we wait for the FDA import alert on AquAdvantage salmon to be lifted.’
AquaBounty is currently growing its transgenic salmon in Panama, to sell in Canada, where it won approval for sale in 2016.