Another threat to our salmon. Fishermen should be watching the development of genetically engineered fish closely.
By Jean-Michel Cousteau
Thursday, July 20, 2000
Environmental News Network
Behold the “superfish,” a salmon that grows six times as fast and twice
as large as normal farmed Atlantic salmon but only consumes three-quarters
as much feed before it is brought to market.
Sound like science fiction? It’s not. Some 100,000 of these fish already
exist, produced by a Canadian company, and are awaiting the official
sanction of federal food agencies in the United States, the world’s main
market for farmed fish. They and others like them might be in stores as
early as 2002.
This creature is the latest in a series of inventions being offered as
food to a world many believe to be teetering on the brink of starvation. The
problem is that, like many genetically altered or engineered life forms,
this salmon may end up destroying more lives than it saves.
How do you build a better salmon? In this case, part of the DNA of a
winter flounder is matched to the salmon’s growth hormone to produce a mixed or
transgenic species. Over the past decade, researchers have also found a
way to alter tilapia and other fish so that they will produce human growth
hormone, or hGH. The resulting “superfish” grows faster and larger on
less feed. It’s an entrepreneur’s dream come true.
Yet, despite the optimism of inventors and the governmental and private
investors that support them, there are enormous environmental risks
involved in developing transgenic species.