Aqua Bounty in limbo in US as losses grow

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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.

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