Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Oh Shit. Genetically Altered Salmon!

As if our wild salmon stocks didn't have enough problems from fish farming. Now there's a company seeking FDA approval to sell a Frankenfish salmon. From The New York Times:

"The salmon was developed by a company called AquaBounty Technologies and would be raised in fish farms. It is an Atlantic salmon that contains a growth hormone gene from a Chinook salmon as well as a genetic on-switch from the ocean pout, a distant relative of the salmon.

Normally, salmon do not make growth hormone in cold weather. But the pout’s on-switch keeps production of the hormone going year round. The result is salmon that can grow to market size in 16 to 18 months instead of three years, though the company says the modified salmon will not end up any bigger than a conventional fish.

“You don’t get salmon the size of the Hindenburg,” said Ronald L. Stotish, the chief executive of AquaBounty. “You can get to those target weights in a shorter time.”

The article omits any mention of the real danger of these fish. What happens to wild stocks when they escape their netted enclosures (as they inevitably do) and breed in competition to the native varieties? It's bad enough that we have Atlantic salmon swimming loose in BC waters but Frankenfish take that problem to an entirely new level. I really don't care what sort of garbage fish people from Alberta to Ontario are willing to eat. I just don't want the damned things loose and breeding wild in our coastal waters.

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