Regulators on Friday provided the green light for genetically modified salmon that grows about twice as fast as usual for breeding in the United States
. However, the company behind it can face legal challenges before the fish can be sold domestically.  The Food and Drug Administration said it raised a warning that had prevented AquaBounty from importing its salmon eggs to its Indiana plant, where they would be grown before being sold as food.
The agency noted that the salmon has already undergone safety assessments and that it raised its warning because the fish would be subject to a new regulation that would require companies to disclose when a food is bio-engineer.
This 2009 AquaBountyTechnology image shows a juvenile salmon raised on the company's hatchery in Fortune, Canada. The US Food and Drug Administration said it had lifted a warning that had prevented AquaBounty from importing its salmon eggs to its Indiana plant, where they would be cultivated before being sold as food
The move comes despite a pending sue filed by a coalition of consumer, environmental and fishing groups that challenged the FDA's approval of the fish.
& # 39; We believe that a remedy in our case would stop the sale of the fish before being allowed to be sold, & # 39; said George Kimbrell, legal director of the Food Safety Center, one of the groups suing the FDA.
Founded in 1991, AquaBounty has worked for many years with safety assessments and regulatory barriers to selling its fish in the United States.
In 2015, the salmon became the first genetically modified animal approved by the FDA for human consumption.
But the agency then issued a notice that stopped Maynard, the Massachusetts-based company from importing its fish eggs, until guidelines for publishing genetically modified foods were resolved.
Called AquAdvantage, the fish is Atlantic salmon changed with DNA from other species of fish to grow faster, as the company says, will help increase the demand for animal protein while reducing costs.
Often referred to as "Frankenfish", the FDA considered AquaAdvantage salmon to eat in 2015 and said there is no biological difference between these salmon and non-genetically developed salmon.
Salmon is raised on AquaBountyTechnology hatchery in Fortune, Prince Edward Island, Canada in 2016
The Congress blocked the FDA in 2016 from letting the fish be sold in the United States to the completed labeling guidelines to inform consumers that the product was genetically engineered. The FDA went ahead and implemented the import warning.
Sylvia Wulf, CEO of AquaBounty, expects the company to get a final certification for its growing facility, Albany, Indiana in the coming weeks.
Salmon eggs can then be sent from the company's research and development facility in Canada, and will be harvested after about 18 months when they reach £ 10, she said.
Wulf said it has been difficult to engage companies in sales discussions because AquaBounty didn't know when it could start growing the fish in the US.
The agency raised its notice because the fish would be subject to a new regulation that would require companies to disclose when a food is biotech. The picture shows salmon eggs on the show's hatchery in Fortune, Canada
She said the salmon has already been sold in limited quantities in Canada, where it must not be labeled as genetically modified. Wulf said she did not expect the ongoing lawsuit to affect the company's US plans.
The genetically modified salmon is raised in tanks and bred to be female and sterile, measures to deal with fear that they may enter the environment and breed with wild fish.
But Kimbrell, from the Center for Food Safety, says that the company's own tests have shown that it is not 100 percent that the fish will be sterile, and what concerns the environment will grow if the company's business is to be expanded.
George Kimbrell, Legal Director of the Center for Food Safety, is one of the groups suing the FDA that challenges the approval of AquaAdvantage Salmon
He also noted Information Regulations using the term "bio-engineered", although most are more familiar with the term genetically modified.
He pointed out that companies can provide information through codes that must be scanned.
Implementation of the Regulations begins in 2020, although people may begin to see packet information before. Compliance becomes mandatory in 2022.
The genetic modification of AquaBounty's fish differs from gene-editing technology, allowing scientists to release specific genes to create properties without introducing foreign DNA.
Businesses also work to develop a number of re-edited crops and animals.