World Aquaculture Society Meetings

Add To Calendar 24/02/2016 09:15:0024/02/2016 09:35:00America/ChicagoAquaculture 2016AQUABOUNTY'S COMMUNICATION CHALLENGE - TURNING FEAR INTO TRUST Vendome BThe World Aquaculture Societyjohnc@was.orgfalseanrl65yqlzh3g1q0dme13067DD/MM/YYYY


Dave Conley
AquaBounty Technologies
Maynard, MA 01754, USA

My first exposure to AquAdvantage Salmon was at an aquaculture trade show in the early 1990s. Dr. Garth Fletcher, who led the research team that did the pioneering work to develop this innovative salmon, was manning a booth and handing out flyers that promoted the new fish. My immediate reaction - "That's fantastic! When will you have this salmon on the market?"

In September 2010, I went to Washington, DC to attend the public meeting organized by the Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM). After a prolonged review, beginning in 1995, of AquaBounty's application to commercialize the AquAdvantage Salmon, the FDA gave its assessment of the material reviewed. Despite its finding that AquAdvantage Salmon is safe to eat and presents little risk to the environment when raised in land based, close contained facilities, it took another five years for the FDA to grant final approval for the commercial production and consumption of AquAdvantage Salmon.

All that consumers know about AquaBounty and its AquAdvantage Salmon has come from the information provided to them via the mainstream media - TV, radio, print and online. The media, unfortunately, has done a poor job of informing people about the science behind the game-changing innovation and the opportunities and benefits arising as a result - for producers, for consumers, for the environment, and for the future of fish farming in the United States. Instead the media decided almost from the beginning to frame the innovation in a way that scared readers rather than enlightened or inspired them. Opponents of biotechnology and genetic engineering were only too happy to participate in this misinformation and disinformation campaign and readily supplied much of the imagery that we see to this day.

Having followed AquaBounty's journey from almost the beginning in 1992, and then joining the Company as Director of Communications in 2013, this presentation will be a personal perspective of my observations and dealings with reporters and the media and what it has taught me about the challenges AquaBounty faces going forward.

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