Genetically modified (GM) salmon producer AquaBounty reaffirmed its plan Tuesday to harvesting its AquAdvantage genetically engineered salmon in the fourth quarter of this year.

“AquaBounty is rapidly approaching its commercialization phase, and we are pleased to announce that our first harvest of conventional Atlantic salmon remains on track to begin in June 2020, which will provide our first revenues on a commercial scale," said the company's CEO Sylvia Wulf.

"This also allows us to continue demonstrating our expertise in aquaculture and ensure our supply chain is in place prior to our first harvest of AquAdvantage salmon, beginning in the fourth quarter of 2020."

Currently, AquaBounty has over 300 metric tons of fish in the water between its two farms located in Indiana and Rollo Bay, Canada. Wulf said in the company's update of its first quarter results that AquaBounty plans to increase production volumes in the coming months.

"With a world-class team in place and a fortified balance sheet from our over-subscribed $15.5 million (€14.2 million) public offering, we are better positioned than ever to execute our strategic plan,” she said.

The company noted it has increased biosecurity and employee safety measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"A challenge like this pandemic highlights the need for technology and supply chain alternatives like ours, which address a safe, sustainable, and secure food supply," she said.

Moving forward with new RAS facility

Aquabounty is still planning for its next large-scale farm pending the final selection of the engineering and recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) technology firms, it said.

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Last November Wulf told IntraFish the company was looking specifically at North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia for locations that could supply mid-Atlantic US consumers.

The company added it has appointed Theodore Fisher and Alana Czypinski to its board of directors.

AquaBounty experienced a net loss of $3.1 million (€2.8 million) in the first quarter of this year, a nearly 11 percent increase from 2019.

The company saw increases in both its general and administrative expenses in the first quarter of 2020 due to strengthening its management team, it said. Aquabounty, however, saw cost decreases in research and development from lower field trial costs. Last year, the company was approved to conduct field trials in China.