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Gov. Brown signs bill banning commercial production of genetically modified salmon

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a North Coast lawmaker's bill banning the commercial production of genetically altered salmon.

AB 504, authored by Assemblyman Wes Chesbro, D-Arcata, extends the prohibition of spawning or cultivating so-called 'transgenic salmonids' in the Pacific Ocean to all waters of the state. The hatchery production and stocking of such fish also is prohibited.

The legislation protects the state's native steelhead trout and salmon populations, Chesbro said. He noted that federal food and drug regulators are reviewing an application by a company, AquaBounty Technologies, that seeks to raise genetically altered salmon in the United States.

'If these 'frankenfish' were to escape into our waters, they could destroy our native salmonid populations through interbreeding, competition for food and the introduction of parasites and disease,' Chesbro stated in a news release. 'The only way to ensure this never happens is to ban commercial hatchery production, cultivation or stocking of transgenic salmonids in California.'

The legislation prohibits research or experimentation for the commercial production of genetically-altered salmonids.

The bill was sponsored by the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations.

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