In 2018, the European Patent Office (EPO) has granted a patent on salmon and trout fed with certain plants (EP1965658). The feedstuff was patented along with the rearing and feeding of the fish, the fish itself and the fish oil. The fish can be fed with either conventional or genetically modified plants. Foods derived from the salmon supposedly have an increased content of omega-3 fatty acids.
This idea is by no means new: it is known, for example, that the milk of pasture-fed cows has a higher content of these fatty acids. The patent led to public protests already in 2016 when the EPO first announced it was granting the patent. At that time, the European Patent Office received hundreds of letters of protest and stopped the approval process. However, in October 2018 the patent was granted after all.
NO PATENTS ON SEEDS! thinks that the patent violates the prohibition of patents on plants and animals from conventional breeding.
Therefore, NO PATENTS ON SEEDS! filed an opposition against this patent on 26th of June 2019. On that day the Administrative Council of the EPO - its highest board with delegates from all 38 member states - was meeting in Munich. The opposition is supported by a broad coalition of more than 30 organizations and backed by more than 5000 individuals.
On 16 November 2021 a hearing took place at the EPO. The patent claims were deleted. The EPO sided with the opponents and ruled that fish being fed this way was neither new nor inventive. More info in the press release from 16 November 2021.