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Genetically Modified Fish: It’s What’s For Dinner!

Genetically Modified Fish: It’s What’s For Dinner!

The small bio-tech firm, AquaBounty Technologies Inc., has genetically engineered a salmon, which reaches an 8-pound market weight in just 18 months, compared to the 36 months normally required.

Dubbed “Frankenfish” by the firm’s critics for creating an animal that grows almost three times faster than its natural counterpart, AquaBounty argues their genetically-engineered salmon is virtually the same as the North Atlantic salmon, which the new species is based after.

The firm inserted part of a gene from an ocean pout into the growth gene of a Chinook salmon. They then injected the combined genetic material into the fertilized egg of a North Atlantic salmon.

“This is a single gene and it’s a salmon gene in a salmon,” said Ronald Stotish, Chief Executive of AquaBounty.

The controversy over eating genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is certainly not a new debate, but if approved for human consumption in US markets by the FDA, this will be the first GMO animal to be sold for its flesh.

Many people find the thought of eating an animal that would have never been created by nature terribly troubling. But the truth of the matter is that virtually all domesticated animals raised to be eaten in the US have been so selectively bred to gain weight, they never would have occurred naturally either.

Broiler (meat) chickens, for example, have been bred to grow so rapidly that by the age of 6 weeks, 90% of these poor birds can no longer walk due to being so morbidly obese.

TAKE ACTION: Stop the production of genetically modified animals!

Another issue surrounding GMO plants and animals is the possibility of crossbreeding with other species, and the danger that lies therein.

AquaBounty intends to prevent this by having their salmon raised only at inland facilities, rather than in ocean pens, where farmed salmon are commonly raised.

Besides the obvious abuse issues associated with raising an animal in confinement, where they cannot live out many of their most basic natural instincts and desires — much the same as egg battery hens – the pollution and waste associated with facilities such as these may be immense.

It generally takes three pounds of wild-caught fish to raise one pound of farmed fish. And although AquaBounty claims their salmon require 25% less food, that still creates a tremendous amount of waste.

It still stands to be seen if the FDA will approve the consumption of GMO animals for the safety of its consumers, but for the animals involved in what boils down to a $50 million dollar experiment, it doesn’t matter much — their safety and well-being continues to be ignored. 

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Image: luigi diamanti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net



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93 comments

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6:14AM PDT on Jul 22, 2012

Not eating it. This food needs to be labeled!

12:31AM PDT on Aug 9, 2011

Thanks for this great article.

2:51AM PDT on Jul 23, 2011

This is a very sad story. Other animals has to go only because "we" humans do not want to share the world with other life forms, these life forms "we" would not eat (vegetarian food is not a bad idea, or eating with conscience as the so called primitive cultures did and still do, if they still exist. No meat/fish every day). "We" destroy averything around us and "we" forget, that everything is important to survive, too.

As little child i thought that rain is when God and the angels cry - because "we" humans have forgotten that we need this "intelligence", someone who could help... if "we" hadn't turned away for many centuries ago...

"Only when the last tree has been cut down; Only when the last river has been poisoned; Only when the last fish has been caught; Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten."
(Native American proverb)

"We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not yet learned the simple art of living together as brothers." (Martin Luther King)

10:33PM PDT on Jul 18, 2011

Where are the new petitions to ban this.

2:31PM PST on Jan 9, 2011

("but do so without over-fishing of wild fish" - Charles Webb, that's what you got the green star for!) But it still won't convince me to eat crap. Hubby and I only eat fish caught by ourselves, and then we only catch enough for that day's dinner, the rest goes back into the ocean. It's time the human overpopulation is successfully controlled then there won't be the NEED for GM food of any kind. I think only people who views it with 'dollars in their eyes' have any interest in modifying anything. We're not Vegan but believe in moderation in everything, reducing our footprints as far as possible and making informed choices - and I don't think it very clever to consume anything that's been fiddled with, sorry.

6:37AM PST on Jan 9, 2011

I won't eat any gmos vegan or meat.

7:17AM PST on Jan 8, 2011

For lots of free info and links about the *many* benefits of vegetarianism (and the many problems with the production and consumption of meat), please visit (and share) Eco-Eating at www.brook.com/veg

Also visit www.OrganicConsumers.org

2:21PM PST on Dec 24, 2010

Should GMO animals be allowed to sell as food?

3:10AM PDT on Sep 7, 2010

i won't eat it.

11:05AM PDT on Sep 6, 2010

"...for the animals involved in what boils down to a $50 million dollar experiment, it doesn't matter much -- their safety and well-being continues to be ignored. "

Huh???

Well, I guess so, if you mean that they are going to end up on somebody's dinner plate. That's the POINT of the exercise. They are not being bred to be happy carefree little critters, but to be a commercial product for food. You know, that stuff that this planet seems to be running out of so that a significant portion of the population goes to bed hungry every night?

So yah, I guess their long term safety is probably NOT being looked after too well, as they end up as somebody's dinner.

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