Frankenfish – Lurching Towards a Stream Near You?

Twenty years ago, the international fish farming corporations told us their activities were no reason for concern; the open water net pens were a safe alternative to harvesting wild salmon. The fish are sterile, they said. Ocean currents dilute pollution. Nothing to worry about. And now, as we find juvenile Atlantic salmon in Pacific coast streams and watch wild runs ravaged by sea lice infestations, disease and effluent from the farms, the head of one of the largest Scandinavian fish farm companies finally admits what many already know: The net pens are damaging to wild fish populations.

Which brings us to the news in a recent issue of the New York Times, that the FDA is seriously considering approval of the first genetically engineered food animal for human consumption—a salmon that grows at twice the rate of natural salmon. A Frankenfish designed by man to—once again—outdo nature. Produced by Aquabounty Technologies, this is an Atlantic salmon with growth hormone genes from Chinook salmon and a genetic “on switch” from another species entirely, the ocean pout. Awesome.

We are assured by Aquabounty that the resulting fish is “identical in every measurable way to the traditional food Atlantic salmon.” Nothing to worry about.

Start worrying. Then write your congressmen.

Help stop a bad, bad idea in its tracks and watch for upcoming edit in TFFJ addressing this issue.

Photo: Micha hoists a macking B.C. bull trout… or is it a GMO smelt?


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