The Food and Drug Administration Friday released a draft report on so-called AquAdvantage salmon that concluded they were safe to eat and would not harm the environment.
"It certainly looks good for the fish moving forward," David Edwards, director of animal biotechnology for the Biotechnology Industry Organization, told the Los Angeles Times. "It shows that the Obama administration is willing to move forward on these technologies and allow the United States to be the leader that we should be."
The 158-page FDA report looked at plans by Aqua Bounty of Maryland to farm raise Atlantic salmon, which grow faster than wild salmon thanks to a growth-hormone gene from the Chinook salmon that was spliced into the DNA of the AquAdvantage fish.
The Times said the report looked only at the Aqua Bounty plan, which would raise GMO salmon in separate tanks in Canada and Panama rather than in pens built in the ocean.
Opponents of GMO foods have said the so-called Frankenfish would crowd out native species of salmon. They accused the Obama administration of releasing the report close to Christmas in hopes it would get little notice in the media.
The biotech industry was not deterred by the narrow scope of the report and predicted it would re-energize the potentially lucrative GMO research industry in the United States.