Below the Surface: The Dangers of Genetically Engineered Salmon
GE salmon may not be a safe or healthychoice
AquaBounty’s GE salmon would be raised in farms andwould likely have many of the same nutritional differencesthat unaltered farmed salmon already have in comparisonto wild salmon. These differences include lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids
and higher levels of contaminants likepolychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
GE salmon have differ-ent vitamin, mineral and amino acid levels than non-GEsalmon,
and GE salmon also have slightly higher levelsof insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1),
which has beenshown to increase the risk of certain cancers.
GE foods have also been found to cause allergic reactions.
Since no long-term studies on the safety of consuming
transgenic sh have been conducted,
the consequencesof approving these GE salmon as a food for humans arealmost entirely unknown.
GE salmon could threaten wild fsh
AquaBounty plans to raise only sterile sh, but the FDA
has called this claim “potentially misleading,”
as up to
5 percent of these sh may be fertile.
The company alsoclaims their GE salmon will be raised in closed facilitiesso that wild stocks won’t be at risk.
Since the companyintends only to produce and sell the eggs, it is unclearhow they could enforce such restrictions on aquaculturecompanies, like those in China, Southeast Asia and Chile,
where regulations and oversight on aquaculture are notori-ously weak.Worldwide, the dominant method of raising salmon is in
open net pens in the ocean, and millions of farmed sh
escape from these facilities every year.
The impact of aGE salmon escape could be immense, as AquaBounty’sfounder once claimed orders for 15 million eggs.
Escaped sh may outcompete wild sh for food, space
and mating opportunities, as they often exhibit greater
aggression and risk-taking than wild sh.
AquaBounty’sGE salmon are genetically designed to eat more and growfaster than wild salmon.
An invasion of GE sh into anatural sh population could lead to the extinction of bothwild and transgenic sh in that region.
Escaped salmonhave also been linked to the spread of infectious diseasesand sea lice to wild populations.
GE salmon could hurt fshing communities
and consumer choice
The worst-case scenario for the environment, shermen
and consumers — wild stocks going extinct — wouldincrease AquaBounty’s market share and spur increased
production of GE sh. Other markets where GE products
have been introduced have experienced a similar ef-fect, resulting in an enormous concentration of power incompanies that produce GE products.
And interbreedingor intermingling of GE and non-GE salmon during process-ing could prompt foreign markets with strong regulationson GE foods to reject U.S. salmon,
hurting the shing
industry.The spread of GE salmon may mean that consumers havefewer choices about what kind of salmon they can buy.People may not even know if they are eating GE salmon
because the FDA may not require it to be specially la
Most consumers do not want to eat transgenicsalmon; more than 60 percent of consumers polled by
he Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is poised to approve geneticallyengineered (GE) salmon as the rst “transgenic” animal allowed into the U.S.
food supply. AquaBounty Technologies, Inc. says its GE salmon,
which is designed
to grow twice as fast an unaltered sh,
is safe, healthy and poses little threat to theenvironment, but there are many reasons to doubt these claims.