Yurok Tribe Adopts Ordinance Banning Frankenfish and GMOs

In this photo, the Yurok Tribe wraps up commercial fishing for 2014. The tribe has banned genetically engineered salmon on their reservation on the Klamath River. (Photo: Beau Finley / Flickr)

The Yurok Tribe, the largest Indigenous Tribe in California with over 6,000 members, has banned genetically engineered salmon and all Genetically Engineered Organisms (GEOs) on their reservation on the Klamath River in the state’s northwest region.

The Yurok ban comes in the wake of the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decision on November 19 to approve genetically engineered salmon, dubbed “Frankenfish,” as being fit for human consumption, in spite of massive public opposition to the decision by fishermen, Tribes, environmental organizations and public interest organizations.

On December 10, 2015, the Yurok Tribal Council unanimously voted to enact the Yurok Tribe Genetically Engineered Organism (“GEO”) Ordinance. The vote took place after several months of committee drafting and opportunity for public comment, according to a news release from the Tribe and Northern California Tribal Court Coalition (NCTCC).

This ordinance is apparently the first of its kind in the U.S. to address the FDA’s approval of AquaBounty Technologies’ application for AquAdvantage Salmon, an Atlantic salmon that reaches market size more quickly than non-GE farm-raised Atlantic salmon, as well as all GMOs.

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