Food & Water Watch and the Center for Food Safety (CFS) have reported that AquaBounty Technologies has been fined US$9,500 for violating environmental regulations in Panama and call for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is assessing the safety of the company’s genetically engineered (GE) salmon, to terminate its review and deny AquaBounty’s pending application to sell GE fish in the United States.

The Panamanian National Environmental Authority apparently ruled on October 23, 2014, that AquaBounty failed to secure the permits needed for water use and water discharge before commencing operations. The decision came in response to a complaint filed in 2013 by the environmental organization Centro de Incidencia Ambiental. CFS senior attorney George Kimbrell said, “AquaBounty has not been able to follow the law, because it lacks the capacity, sophistication, will, or all of the above. This decision is also even further proof that FDA is dangerously out of touch with the facts on the ground, advancing AquaBounty’s application based on its promises, not reality.”

A Friends of the Earth spokesperson said, “AquaBounty’s days of hiding in the highlands of Panama are over. This is even more evidence that the FDA should deny approval of AquaBounty’s application for genetically engineered salmon. Once these fish escape, it is impossible to retrieve them. And it may be extremely difficult to contain the negative environmental impacts of escaped fish.” See Food & Water Watch and Center for Food Safety News Releases, October 28, 2014.