Matthew Waterman
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Matthew Waterman in Brand Power,

AquaBounty GMO Salmon Producer Now Publicly Traded

Well this is an exciting development. I had recently contacted AquaBounty Technologies (AQB) with a request to interview them about their GM Salmon, which they plan to market as the AquAdvantage brand. Their director of corporate communications replied to me with links to their SEC filings. I was completely unaware that they were even selling stock yet. 

The questions that I am asking them about are with regards to future operations, and I am waiting to hear back about those, but I did get some information about where they are in the business cycle. The company is still in its planning stages, having no sellable product, and no commercial facilities. Since this is the first operation of its type, it can't be known exactly how long it will take to get product to market. Several major retailers including Costco (COST), Whole Foods Market (WFM), Target (TGT), and Kroger (KR) have refused to carry the fish, citing protests from consumers.

That means it could be a while, possibly years before any revenues or profits are going to be had by investors. You'll want to think about that seriously before you decide to invest. If the product ends up being a commercial failure, you could see your entire investment lost. If you go in, intend to hold forever, regardless of any interim news.

In spite of that, I am optimistic about what AquaBounty can accomplish.

The reality is that fish supplies are becoming more difficult to produce, and consumers are demanding it more every year because of the health benefits, and let's face it, what other protein compares with a well made smoked salmon? The cost of quality fish is becoming hard to justify though, with prices outpacing good cuts of steak. If Americans want to continue to enjoy this dish, then it is necessary to start thinking about other more sustainable ways to raise them. 

There are no differences in the health effects of GM, farm raised, or wild salmon. There is no benefit whether it is organic or not. The only noticeable differences might be in the fat content from what they have been eating, and flavors from the local water supply. Other than that, there is no reason to think that there are any negative health effects of eating any genetically modified food, and this has been proven consistently for going on 30 years now. It is time for the public to start embracing these technologies instead of fearing them.

I will be watching this one closely, and will issue updates the moment I learn anything new.