Article by Monica Brown
The Food and Drug Administration has given their approval, pending a 60 day public debate, of the AquAdvantage Salmon developed by the Massachusetts based company Aquabouty Technology. The salmon was developed out of need from the growing human population which outweighs the current salmon population.
The AquAdvantage Salmon have been genetically engineered from Atlantic Chinook to grow at a faster rate on small amounts of food and are made specifically to be sterile females to help prevent reproducing with wild salmon. The idea behind the genetically engineered salmon (GES) to be female is a precaution to prevent escaped salmon from mingling with the wild salmon, had they been sterile males they would cause a disturbance in the spawning grounds by fighting over territory with male wild salmon. Although, Aquabounty has stated there is a slight chance that a small percentage of females may be fertile, but state the chance of them escaping to the wild are very slim.
According to FDA regulations, upon approval, the GES will be required to be grown in a physically contained system to prevent escape and at approved facilities only. When placed at the marketplace the GES will not be required to have any special labels or markings due to the fact that they are genetically the same as wild salmon and pose no threat for human consumption.
The imposition the GES will make on the environment and human diet is still dependent on the future consumption of the salmon. As well as the impact it will make on the economy in the lives of Atlantic Fishermen. Since it is not clear yet how far the GES will be shipped, and we won’t be able to tell by labels or on restaurant menus, it prefer wild salmon to either fish for it yourself or get it from someone you know.
If you would like to comment on the Aquadvantage Salmon, the comment section for the 60 day public debate can be accessed here. Comments will be accepted until February 25, 2013
Comments by others may be viewed here