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Sep 20, 2010 02:20 AM

FDA to consider approval of modified salmon

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  1. The world ain't getting bigger, but the human population and resource consumed are.

    As population increases and wealthier, and demand more and higher quality food, it's got to come from somewhere. You can't just pray more fish out of a depleted sea.

    4 Replies
    1. re: dach

      But it's a vicious circle: the more food you produce, the more population grows. At some point the world will not be able to sustain us.

      Not saying "let 'em starve", only that there are always, ALWAYS, unexpected consequences. Everything man has done to tinker with Mother Nature has a negative impact somewhere down the line. We need to be very conscious of the ramifications of what we do.

      1. re: coney with everything

        This is another step towards "Soylent Green".......Personally, I do not eat farm raised seafood, and would not consider a geneticlly modified animal that combines Chinook and Pout, (eel) into a protein conversion machine. Luckily I live on the Gulf and can get my own daily caught seafood when I am ambitious enough to crank up the boat. As far as the big picture, Coney, is right more food more consumers we won't live to see it but are the food wars coming?

      2. re: dach

        It's easy for those with relative wealth to demand higher standards in food. For a lot of people of the world any food is good food. It's a strange time as we delve into genetic modification. Corn that produces it's own pesticide is the norm in the US. Will these modified salmon have an effect on the wild salmon? No way it can not unless they are farmed on land in tanks. As far as these fish having an adverse effect on humans it will be a wait and see. Depends on more than the modification. Adverse effects may more likely come from what they are fed and what toxins they are around while they live there short life cycle.

        1. re: scubadoo97

          I agree. If they were gen-mod-ing from a vulture or a shark, I would be more concerned. There are so many pollutants affecting seafood that what these fish eat may be a larger concern than the content of their DNA. When I first heard the buzz about this, it made me wonder if people would eat a stew with all 3 of these sea creatures in it. I know it's not the same thing, but it's hard for me to have a problem with this given that the DNA in question is from other hardy ocean-dwellers. I'm struggling with what I "should" buy for my family in the face of all the conflicting hype: "eat more fish, Omega-3s are healthy for you!" "Mercury levels unsafe in many seafood offerings." "Farmed fish bad, wild-caught fish good." "Many wild seafood populations becoming over-fished." "Lower-income families eat less fresh food." If we're asking people to eat healthier but they can't afford the top-of-the line non-genmod, wild, non-overfished, no-unsafe-mercury-levels fish, what does that leave at the seafood counter (or fishmongers) to buy for Friday dinner?

      3. i have no [problem with GMO foods in general. if specific foods are problematic, then those specific foods should not be allowed. But i do not find the concept evil.

        as to "tampering with mother nature" that is what people have always done. farming, houses, irrigation, breeding plants and animals, etcetcetc - we do not adapt to nature, we adapt the world to our needs. that has been our primary survival strategy since prehistoric times.

        we are part of nature. what we do is part of nature. as i've said before - if a beehive is natural, so is a city

        13 Replies
        1. re: thew

          Your logic eludes me. Please elucidate. Surely, you aren't saying humans should do whatever they please because whatever we do is "natural?" That makes little sense to me. We must be circumspect, at least. One has only to consider the state of the planet and all its resources to see the sense in a measured approach to such large issues.

          1. re: amyzan

            i am not saying to act thoughtlessly. I'm saying that this idea that we are outside of nature, and our "tampering" with it is some new thing, is nonsense. we have been shaping nature since before history. a good read is the book 1491 about pre-columbian america, as one example. europeans did not come into some untouched wilderness, they came into a landscape shaped by it's inhabitants to maximize survivability. thats why we had forests interspersed with open plains across the eastern united states. It was the best combination to sustain the indigenous people there.

            1. re: thew

              Which is why we have much to learn from history, thew, in these regards. The Anasazi, the Roman Empire, and on and on...

              1. re: amyzan

                the roman empire collapsed because we "tampered with nature"?

                1. re: thew

                  No, it outgrew its resources...

            1. re: chowser

              eveything allowed by the laws of physics

              1. re: thew

       the bluefin tuna's best hope is for the nukes to fly....

            2. re: thew

              "as to "tampering with mother nature" that is what people have always done. farming, houses, irrigation, breeding plants and animals, etcetcetc - we do not adapt to nature, we adapt the world to our needs. that has been our primary survival strategy since prehistoric times.

              we are part of nature. what we do is part of nature. as i've said before - if a beehive is natural, so is a city"


              I'm in total concurrence with this line of thought.

              To take it one step further (and as I've mentioned in another post), why are people worried that humans are "harming" the planet with the things we do, e.g. pollution, over fishing, over farming, etc.

              Perhaps this *is* what nature intended. Our actions -- as part of the natural cycle of things -- are intended to rid the planet of the problems of human beings.

              After all, no species, no matter how dominant, exists forever. At some point, humans will cease to exist.

              And it should not be a surprise that our own actions will be our undoing. It would only be natural.

              1. re: ipsedixit

                I should like to hope that we're smarter than that, but perhaps not.

                1. re: amyzan

                  I'm curious why you think we would be smarter than that?

                  Do you think goldfish are the only creatures susceptible to their own uncontrollable self-destructive gluttonous behaviors?

                  While we may be sentient, we may not be above the natural laws of, well, nature.

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    I didn't say I think we're smarter than that, rather that I hope we might be. I suppose that makes me more optimistic than pessimistic, but yes, I do think it's a radical choice in this situation.

                2. re: ipsedixit

                  nature doesn't intend anything.

              2. I have learned not to be first to try anything new. I'll give it a few years and observe whether modified salmon eaters start growing horns on their foreheads.
                The global harvest of wild caught fish peaked in 2007, so moving forward, all new incremental demand for fish products must come from fish farms, which at present account for 47% of the total.
                Wild caught will increasingly be a choice only for the affluent.

                1. How soon until one of these suckers gets loose and starts breeding with the local population?

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: gilintx

                    and, again presuming the report is correct and they are very much like wild fish, except they grow faster, would be the problem?

                    1. re: thew

                      Right off the top of my head, I would be concerned about the food chain. According to what I'm reading, salmon eat largely plankton, smaller fish, and krill. Presumably, bigger salmon would need to eat even more than regular ones. What else eats those things? Are we going to endanger other species?

                        1. re: gilintx

                          The GMO salmon do not necessarily grow LARGER than other farmed salmon, they grow FASTER. With a shorter time from hatch to market weight they would be slightly more efficient at converting feed to fish.

                          But even if they do grow larger that still wouldn't matter for the overall calculation of FCR (food conversion ratio). What is important is the # of kg of food required to produce 1 kg of fish. If the fish are larger you can get the same amount of edible salmon by raising fewer fish.