Wild salmon are an economic engine that we believe is the cornerstone of sustainable development in Cascadia. These sea-going golden retrievers bring the wealth of the ocean home every year — sustainably generating jobs for independent fishermen, food for the world, to say nothing of being our ecological keystone species.
The FDA's recent decision is based on the preposterous claim that there is no difference between AquaBounty Technologies Inc.’s Frankenfish and natural salmon, and no risk whatever of any environmental impacts. Objections span the ideological spectrum:
- Food safety advocates say GE Fish pose higher risk of allergic reactions, contain larger quantities of cancer-causing chemicals, and offer fewer health benefits than natural fish;
- Commercial fishing organizations and economists fear the economic and social consequences of flooding the market with cheap, unlabeled GE fish;
- Consumer advocates object to the lack of labeling (they’d be sold as “Atlantic Salmon”);
- Environmentalists fear escaped GE Fish could interbreed with wild salmon, , decimating populations and unleashing a cascade of harmful ecological interactions;
- Moral objections are raised by those who see genetic engineering of animals as the ultimate human hubris;
- Cultural objections are raised by indigenous peoples, for whom Atlantic and King salmon are sacred.
- Policy-makers and academics point out the current regulatory system (it falls under “new animal drug” regulations so decisions are made by veterinarians) is totally ill-equipped to handle GE fish.
For More Information:
Read the environmental assessment and FDA’s background materials Here
The Ocean Conservancy has a nice infographic
NPR Science Friday episode exploring the issue