The Spectator has found the perfect Halloween dish for you: “Frankenfish,” the genetically modified salmon. Among all of the initiative talk are the smaller details that we often overlook. Like the health of salmon. We like salmon!
And frankly, we’re freaked out by the “Frankenfish.”
The U.S. company AquaBounty Technologies, Inc. is pushing for approval of its genetically engineered salmon called the AquaAdvantage salmon. This farmed fish is designed to grow twice as fast as your typical salmon and they can grow outside of the normal spring and summer salmon seasons. Some say they are higher quality and AquaBounty claims that these fish will accommodate the world’s high demand for seafood.
We’re all for more fish sticks and fillets, but the potential environmental and health impacts of the possible escape of these freakish fish could be astronomical. Genetically altered salmon and wild salmon will be fighting for precious resources in their waterways. And they can’t both rule the river.
The National Academy of Sciences has warned that the release of genetically engineered salmon could lead to the extinction of the wild population in a remarkably short amount of time. We need wild salmon populations to spawn and die to continue the circle of life within the inland forests of the Pacific Northwest where their decomposing bodies provide nutrients to fauna and foliage alike. The bigger problems with genetically modified salmon, though, are the answers that we don’t have. For instance, scientists are still unsure of the full magnitude that the impact the release of genetically engineered salmon will have on the earth at-large. Nor are they certain of the negative health impacts that could percolate from the engineered salmon populations to us, the consumers.
Until we have the answers to these pertinent questions, it is irresponsible to pursue genetically engineered food at the current rate. Do it for the salmon.