Genetically Modified Salmon
Also known as transgenic salmon. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel began hearings in Washington on Sunday, on America's first genetically engineered food animal: the Atlantic salmon. This fish incorporates DNA from the ocean pout and the Chinook salmon to make it grow twice as fast as its wild relatives.
Instead of 3 years, the genetically modified fish reaches maturity in 18 months!
Aquaculture that produces tilapia and shrimp is already created to meet the demand for seafood, but farming genetically modified fish is a whole different matter.
The controversy? With drastically declining wild fish stocks becoming a serious concern, proponents argue that farming a fast-growing genetically modified fish is the safest and most economical way to meet consumers' insatiable demand for salmon, which is reported to be a heart healthy food because of the essential omega-3 fatty acids.
Proponents also insist that there's no danger in eating genetically modified food as they insist that raising them strictly in tanks will eliminate the risk of loosing a few into the wild where they would breed with wild salmon and "contaminate" the gene pool.
AquaBounty, the Boston-based company that designed the fish, told the FDA that the fish will be grown only in indoor tanks in inland areas, and Ohio has already been selected by the company as the place to "grow" these genetically modified fish.
However, opponents to such endeavors raise both health and environmental concerns.
Just as agribusiness exclusively sells genetically modified seeds, the company intends to sell eggs to growers in the U.S. as well as elsewhere. There's the whole ethical issue of one company holding the patented rights to create, own, and sell eggs to fish farmers. Won't this mean that all the ills of agribusiness will enter the realm of aquaculture?Continued on the next page