The FDA is close to making a decision on whether Americans should have access to genetically engineered salmon.
A Boston company wants agency approval to sell salmon that gets to an optimum weight in about half the time.
U.S. demand for salmon is as strong as ever, because the cardiovascular and neurological benefits of eating the fish have been proven.
Now a Massachusetts company, AquaBounty, says it can genetically engineer salmon to grow faster by injecting it with a hormone.
"We at AquaBounty do not believe that this solves all of the world's problems in food security, but we do believe that this is an example of the application of a technology that can address many of those problems and can do so sustainably,” said AquaBounty CEO Ron Stotish.
AquaBounty's genetically engineered salmon reaches maturity in 16 to 18 months, rather than the normal 30 months. And, as opposed to importing salmon from around the world, it says this fish can be raised domestically.
"We can have a sustainable source of high quality seafood protein closer to populations and, in essence, fresh fish closer to the cities where the fish are consumed," said Stotish.
But allowing human consumption of "Frankenfish" as critics call them, is opposed by those who fear what's next.
"Today it's a fish we are talking about, but very soon it will be a genetically engineered pig, a chicken, even God forbid, our beloved cows,” said genetic salmon opponent Jostein Solheim.
If approved, the salmon would be the first genetically modified animal permitted by the Food and Drug Administration, which wrapped up a two-day hearing Monday and has already concluded no harm can come from consuming the fish.
Approval of the salmon might open the door for a variety of other genetically engineered animals, including an environmentally friendly pig that is being developed in Canada or cattle that are resistant to mad cow disease.
The FDA is said to be still a few weeks away from a final decision.