04/01/2016 11:53 EDT | Updated 04/02/2017 05:12 EDT

Engineered Salmon May Screw Up Wild Species: Environmentalists

The salmon was created in P.E.I.

HALIFAX — A coalition of environmental and fishing groups is suing the U.S. government for approving an Atlantic salmon engineered to grow quickly.

The salmon was created by AquaBounty Technologies in P.E.I. with DNA from three fish and is the first engineered animal approved for human consumption in the States.

An AquAdvantage Salmon is pictured in this undated handout photo provided by AquaBounty Technologies. The first supplies of GMO salmon, which will be engineered by AquaBounty Technologies Inc to grow faster than conventional fish, will likely arrive in U.S. supermarkets in two years or more, after being raised in facilities in Canada and Panama, Chief Executive Ronald Stotish told Reuters. (Photo: AquaBounty Technologies handout via Reuters)

The Canadian and American groups launched the suit against the Food and Drug Administration on Thursday.

The plaintiffs, including the Ecology Action Centre in Halifax, argue that the FDA ignored comments from nearly two million people opposed to the approval, and failed to analyse potential risks to wild salmon and the environment.

They say there is a risk the modified salmon could escape and threaten endangered wild salmon stocks.

AquaBounty plans to produce the salmon eggs in P.E.I. and grow them out in Panama, where they will be processed into fillets and shipped to the States for sale.

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