By Alan Boraas — comment
The word on the Internet is that the Federal Food and Drug Administration is on the verge of final approval for human consumption of AquaBounty’s genetically modified salmon. The initial approval has already been made; the FDA is now responding to public commentary, including more than 2 million objections to GMO (genetically modified organism) salmon. The FDA has approved corn and other genetically modified plant foods for human consumption and Monsanto and sister corporations are booming. But Atlantic salmon with an eel pout gene to trigger a king salmon growth gene would be the first GMO animal approved for human consumption.
Economically, cheap Frankenfish will almost certainly deplete the commercial market for wild, more expensive, salmon. That would be ruinous to Alaska’s commercial salmon industry. Moreover, as canneries and fishermen go out of business, the primary mechanism biologists have to manage escapement and hence stable fish runs would also disappear. With Riker models run amok, salmon runs will be chaotic.
Environmentally, escaping GMO salmon will have unknown consequences for healthy wild salmon stocks. AquaBounty says it will sterilize the female Frankenfish. What are they going to do, assembly-line fish hysterectomies? Howard et al. estimated that if 60 GMO salmon were disseminated among 60,000 wild salmon, the natural stock would be decimated in 40 generations.
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