Cornucopia’s Take: Genetically engineered salmon were first bred over 25 years ago, and public opinion has played a major role in their not receiving regulatory approval for sale in the U.S. Tribes in the Pacific Northwest that rely on wild salmon for fishing and as an important piece of their cultural heritage have joined a lawsuit led by the Center for Food Safety which claims that the FDA has not adequately assessed the environmental and ecological outcomes posed by the fish.
How genetically engineered salmon swims onto our plates
by Richard Martin
This story first appeared in bioGraphic, an online magazine from the California Academy of Sciences.
One day in 1992, a technology entrepreneur sat down for a meeting with two biologists studying the genes of fish. The scientists, Choy Hew and Garth Fletcher, were working on a method of purifying “antifreeze proteins” that would help Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) survive so-called superchill events in the North Atlantic. Normally these salmon migrate out of the sub-zero ice-laden seawater of the far North Atlantic to overwinter in less frigid waters. Increasingly, though, such fish were being farmed, penned year-round in offshore cages, in near-Arctic waters to which they were not adapted. Fish farmers were looking for a way to keep the fish alive through the winter, and the antifreeze protein seemed like a possible solution.
As the meeting drew to a close, Fletcher and Hew showed Elliot Entis, the entrepreneur, a photo of two fish of equal age. One dwarfed the other. “I sat back down,” Entis recalled recently. Read Full Article »