GE salmon will be on the market this month, says AquaBounty
The long-delayed commercial-scale sale of AquaBounty’s genetically engineered salmon will begin this month, the company said last night.
Chief executive Sylvia Wulf said a commercial framework had been completed in the first quarter of the year, “and we are confident that all key processes are in place for the launch of our fish during May”.
Commercial sales of AquaBounty’s AquAdvantage salmon, which grow more quickly than conventional Atlantic salmon, have been delayed for years in the US because of regulatory issues and more recently by the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact on the food service sector and salmon prices.
“We are looking forward to a successful commercial launch of our GE salmon, which will mark a tremendous milestone that has been decades in the making,” said Wulf in a commentary attached to the company’s Q1 2021 report.
“We have the experience, capital and technology necessary to succeed, and the warm reception from our potential customers has fortified our belief that AquaBounty represents the next-evolution of land-based salmon farming. We remain focused on continued execution in the weeks and months ahead as we strive to create sustainable, long-term value for our shareholders.”
Wulf continued: “After successful sampling efforts of our GE salmon with widely respected seafood distributors and other interested groups in the first quarter, we began the customer onboarding process, which focused on finalising planning and allocations for our impending first harvest.
“Our GE salmon was well received in sampling, and our sales team is very optimistic regarding near-term demand expectations, considering the resurgence of the food service industry as Covid-19 concerns begin to dissipate and consumers return to restaurants.”
AquaBounty grows its fish at a 1,200-tonne capacity recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) facility at Albany, Indiana and is intending to build four or five 10,000-tonne plants in the US and Canada, beginning in the Midwest.
“We raised $127.1 million in gross proceeds in a public offering of equity in February to further finance the construction of our next farm with a planned capacity of 10,000 metric tons, which will greatly increase the company’s growing capacity,” said Wulf.
“We are currently in due diligence on the final site location and expect to commence construction later this year and commercial production in 2023. Ahead of these rigorous efforts, we have made substantial progress on the farm design with our engineering and RAS technology partners, ensuring we have an efficient, replicable facility design that will serve us for years to come.”
AquaBounty made a net loss of $4.2m in Q1, compared to $3.1m in the same period last year.
As a result of the public offering in February, it held cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash of $211.4m as of March 31, 2021, compared with $96.3m as of December 31, 2020.