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Buy Wild-Caught Salmon to Avoid the Many Dangers of Genetically Modified Frankenfish

April 19, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 181

While Congress was in the process of reviewing a bill that would ban the interstate trade of genetically engineered fish (1), even further evidence of its prudence came to light. Researchers revealed that AquAdvantage, an artificial salmon and case study for this bill, was found to be contaminated with Infectious Salmon Anaemea (1).

This disease, which has been known to cause epidemics with a 90% death rate in salmon farms, is only one of the many ecological dangers that this fish could pose. The Atlantic salmon that this "frankenfish" is based on has already been shown to be a serious environmental hazard when it escapes from its farms along the Pacific Coast. According to one survey by the Canadian government, nearly 400,000 salmon were reported to have escaped into the wild between 1991 and 2001, from British Columbia alone. Atlantic salmon have been thriving in the Pacific ever since, competing successfully against local species, and more importantly, spreading the massive outbreaks of lethal sea-lice and disease that form in their cramped, unsanitary conditions.

Farmed fish are not a good idea for many reasons. Add in genetically modified farmed fish and it becomes a horrible idea. Farmed seafood (like conventionally produced beef and chicken) are held in pens that barely allow for movement. The conditions are incredibly unsanitary and stressful. All this contributes to weakened immune systems and rampant disease (the worst being sea lice). Of course, the commercial fish farmer responds by feeding the salmon a variety of pesticides and antibiotics which, we know, is bad for us and the environment. Additionally, farmed salmon have an unappealing grayish tinge because they never eat their natural diet of krill that give wild-caught salmon their natural, pink flesh. Again, the fish farmer counters this problem by feeding the farmed salmon a chemical called canthaxanthin which turns the flesh into a more appealing, albeit unnatural, shade of pink. In fact, the farmer can pick the exact designer shade of pink he wants his salmon. This chemical has been banned in the U.K. for causing eye problems in some exposed to it and was originally sold as a sunless tanning pill for humans.

We need to keep wild species alive and healthy. Even if Atlantic salmon are the breed of choice (for the producers, not necessarily the consumer) over wild-caught Alaskan salmon because they grow slightly faster and are a bit more docile, there's no such thing as a superior salmon species. Every species and sub-species has developed its own ingenious survival adaptations. If the Atlantic becomes the only species, and something in the environment changes so that they can't cope, we may be out of luck entirely.

As much damage as Atlantic salmon are already doing to the Pacific ocean, this new genetically modified farmed salmon could double it. Specifically engineered to grow to maturity twice as quickly, we have no idea what it might do if it escapes into the wild, and only one irreversible way to find out.

The bill has been sponsored by Alaskan Senator Mark Begich, in order to protect the quality and sustainability of Alaskan wild-caught salmon, which he knows consumers value (2). By purchasing wild-caught salmon, we can prove him right and support prudent, ethical fishing practices as well as improving our own health.

For more information on the benefits of wild-caught salmon, you can check out our Education Site.

Topline Foods delivers grass fed organic beef, organic free range chicken and wild caught seafood. Visit Topline Foods for more information.

(1) Senate Questions GE Salmon Environmental Impact

(2) Hearings: Environmental Risks of Genetically Engineered Fish

Source: EzineArticles
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