It almost seems preposterous to ask this question, but what type of salmon would you prefer to see on your plate:
- Genetically modified Atlantic salmon, spliced with Pacific salmon growth gene and modulated by a regulator protein from an Ocean Pout; or
- Wild Sockeye from the pristine unpolluted waters of Bristol Bay, Alaska.
But as Paul Greenberg points out in his commentary on Living on Earth, our government is making that choice, and many of us are afraid it isn’t going to be the right one. How else can you explain that:
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is close to approving an engineered Atlantic salmon; and
- The international mining giant Anglo American plans to construct the largest open pit copper and gold mine in the U.S. at the headwaters of Bristol Bay, putting perhaps the most productive salmon run left on earth at risk, as the Environmental Protection Agency ignores the power it has to stop the mine through the Clean Water Act.
And as Paul points out in the commentary, it is a little ironic that the complete adoption of genetically engineered salmon into the existing farmed salmon industry would increase production by a quarter of a billion pounds of fish annually, and if a future Bristol Bay copper mine failure occurs similar to what happened in China this summer, that could result in the loss of a quarter billion pounds of fish.
Join the Consumers Union and other organizations that are raising concerns regarding FDA’s approval process and the lack of labeling of genetically engineered fish. Read Paul Greenberg’s new book Four Fish. And seek out sustainably managed, wild fish species. It’s far better for your family’s health and the marine environment.
This blog post was written by Mark Muller and originally appeared on the IATP Food and Society Fellows Fresh Ideas blog.