AquaBounty surprised by Maine’s decision to cancel American Aquafarms applications over egg concerns

AquaBounty CEO, Sylvia Wulf, has told SalmonBusiness that the company was surprised by the decision from Maine’s Department of Marine Resources (DMR) to cancel American Aquafarms application to grow Atlantic salmon in Frenchman Bay.

Maine’s DMR terminated the application for the $300 million American Aquafarms project in April over, among other things, “genetics questions” about the company’s plan to source its eggs from AquaBounty.

AquaBounty’s surprise
Wulf stated that the company had “communicated to the market that we would be able to supply non-transgenic eggs” and was working “very closely with the Canadian regulatory authorities” to ensure there was “no chance of confusing transgenic and non-transgenic eggs.”

AquaBounty’s CEO claimed that the company had been in contact with American Aquafarms for “some period of time” and “had been providing them with all of the documentation that they requested.”

“So, it was a bit of a surprise to us when Maine called out the concern about the source of the eggs. Because we can verify the genetic strains, we can verify that it’s a North American line. Anything that they would have required, we could have provided,” Wulf said.

Faulty assumptions
When asked whether AquaBounty was given any indication why the Maine regulator had “genetic questions” about the source of the eggs, Wulf was clear in her response: “No, we had no communication on the genetic background of the eggs that we were planning to supply and ready to supply to American Aquafarms.”

Alongside the “genetic questions” that Maine’s DMR raised, the state agency was concerned about the strain of salmon that was provided despite AquaBounty planning to provide North American stock. Wulf claimed the confusion arose from a “faulty assumption on their part.”

“It was disappointing to us that we didn’t have an opportunity to respond before it went public because all of those challenges could have been addressed had they not assumed things that weren’t fact,” Wulf added.

What happens next?
SalmonBusiness asked Wulf whether AquaBounty is considering taking any action against the Maine agency for its comments about the company and its planned partnership with American Aquafarms.

“No, I think assumptions were made that were incorrect. Things like that happen all the time. I think we’ve had a chance to clear up those faulty assumptions and that’s really all that we really want to do,” Wulf said.

As for the relationship with American Aquafarms going forward, Wulf was open that AquaBounty would be willing to still supply eggs if the Maine company resubmits its plans for the salmon farm in Frenchman Bay.

“I think it’s up to them. We have eggs available. We’re selling non transgenic eggs to other producers…We are certainly ready to support American Aquafarms in whatever they need to do to respond to the concerns expressed by the Maine regulators,” the AquaBounty CEO stated.


Related Articles