Will Environmental Devastation Occur When Genetically Engineered Salmon Escape Into the Wild?

Posted by on April 20, 2017 in Environment, Environmental Hazards, Wildlife with 25 Comments
Although salmon used to be abundant on both the east and west coasts, large, healthy populations of salmon now exist mostly in Alaska. Photo credit: Ray Plourde, Ecology Action Centre

Although salmon used to be abundant on both the east and west coasts, large, healthy populations of salmon now exist mostly in Alaska. Photo credit: Ray Plourde, Ecology Action Centre

By Brettny Hardy | EcoWatch

In late 2015, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave the greenlight to AquaBounty, Inc., a company poised to create, produce and market an entirely new type of salmon. By combining the genes from three different types of fish, AquaBounty has made a salmon that grows unnaturally fast, reaching adult size twice as fast as its wild relative.

Never before has a country allowed any type of genetically engineered animal to be sold as food. The U.S. is stepping into new terrain, opening Pandora’s box. But are we ready for the consequences?


In order to answer that question, we must first look back on how we as a nation arrived at this point. Historically, the U.S. has enjoyed a rich bounty of seafood from the ocean. When I lived in Alaska, I always loved the late summer months when wild salmon would fill the rivers, making their way to spawning grounds. Fresh, wild salmon filets were delicious and abundant. And they still are.

Unfortunately, outside of Alaska, our poor management of an enormous fishing industry and important habitat has depleted fish stocks all along our coasts. Salmon species, in particular, are sensitive to environmental changes. The development and industrialization of our coast has polluted and dammed the rivers they depend on to breed. Although salmon used to be abundant on both the east and west coasts, large, healthy populations of salmon now exist mostly in Alaska.

Instead of fixing the environmental problems we have created or investing in the protection and recovery of our existing wild salmon resources, some have decided to create a new, genetically engineered fish that brings a host of its own problems and further undermines the sustainability of our food supply.

The genetically engineered salmon that the FDA approved will undertake a journey that stretches halfway around the globe in order to arrive at your dinner table. AquaBounty plans to produce the salmon eggs in a lab on Prince Edward Island in Canada, fly them to Panama to be raised, slaughtered and filleted and then bring them back to the U.S. so they can be sold to your family. How many tons of greenhouse gases are emitted during that 5,000-mile trip?

That’s a far cry from the farm-to-table experience of eating seafood caught and sold by your local fisherman. Even worse, the FDA has so far refused to require food labels, so you won’t even know if the fish you’re eating is genetically engineered.

The waste and secrecy inherent in this process is bad enough, but the environmental consequences of this decision are potentially enormous. The FDA has failed to fully examine the risks this new species of salmon may present to wild salmon—and the environment—should it escape into the wild, which even some supporters of the FDA decision acknowledge is inevitable.

Once free, these fish will enter a world where wild salmon are already in a precarious state. In this fragile environment, genetically engineered fish would compete with their wild counterparts for food and space and could even potentially interbreed with them. They will also bring new diseases and cause changes to basic food webs and ecosystem processes that are difficult to anticipate.

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  1. 1606068659714623@facebook.com' Donna Rae Munro says:

    Um … I thinking environmental devastation has already occurred

  2. 10153829781264904@facebook.com' Mary Tinker says:

    They keep taking away the food we can eat.

  3. 676633132500276@facebook.com' Ngố Love Lỳ says:

    Tks ad of Conscious Life News…If you answer these questions, prove you are intelligent, join now…
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    Tks ad with post: The FDA exists to ensure that the food and drugs we consume are safe for humans, but does not typically evaluate the environmental impacts of putting new types of engineered foods (like G.E. salmon) i…

  4. 1013411448748982@facebook.com' Julie Boone Grady says:

    We should be very concerned, there has been enough Devastation already

  5. 1209930129017910@facebook.com' Cheryl Johnson May says:

    The fda is a crock! Seriously. They are a huge part of the problem. Sold out to the highest bidder.

  6. 10206106182912513@facebook.com' Chase Mueller says:

    The FDA makes damn sure we all stay consistantly poisoned. Wake up.

  7. 1736750156560282@facebook.com' Steven Lovell says:

    Dear Conscious Life News; The FDA exists to ensure that our food and our medicine is poisoned that’s why they exist and for no other reason.

  8. 266248600385514@facebook.com' Issac Affum says:

    Haven’t they drop more into the water bodies secretly already

  9. 1741967666014603@facebook.com' Snjezana Babic says:

    Awful. Of course it will occur. Such genetically engineered salmon will act as an invasive species.

  10. 483489248496322@facebook.com' Steven Hartley says:

    I would not buy this! Why not just feed this crap to the people in government who approved it!

  11. 880518655367337@facebook.com' Christopher Leblanc says:

    is that even a question , how dumb are you

  12. 1609317016058858@facebook.com' Paddy O Dailey says:

    I aint eat’n no Franken-fish

  13. 10209624729843067@facebook.com' Georg Simon Hirschland says:

    They like cigarettes throw your buts in the streets.

  14. 1312179868809070@facebook.com' Kathy Popp says:

    There is no Planet B. Won’t eat frankenfish anymore than anything else that is not GMO free. (hybrids are NOT the same) Label label label, and expect no government agency to protect your interests over corporations that contribute $$$ to politicians.

  15. 10204513237429437@facebook.com' Earl Christian Stauffer says:

    What if bears eat them and it changed their hormonal balance and they become more violent. And when they poop, it will create a gmo super shit fly and so on and so on leading on to the destruction of some levels of the eco system. Just a theory out of my butt

  16. 1734699633434235@facebook.com' Roy Rasmussen Sr. says:

    It usually dose not work well. Even, introducing plants, can cause big trouble … Maybe the fish program is solid, but I do recall an article early on explaining the negativity. ((Perhaps—enough money is ready, TO KEEP EVERYTHING HAPPY))

  17. 416264895245684@facebook.com' NancyLee Upton-Langerman says:

    Just Pathetic…

  18. 10209218517445985@facebook.com' Martin Schulz says:

    This has always been my main concern with genetic engineering. What will the impacts be when the modified plants or animals escape into the environment? Finally an article that brings up the topic. Strange that it’s so overlooked.

  19. 205051713209789@facebook.com' Silva Rios says:

    We should be concerned. Fda is a crock. Fix the environment. By doing this is not making it better but making more problems in the long run.

  20. 1164173383602406@facebook.com' Lauren Beynon says:

    Wish people would stop fucking with nature

  21. 1722553831363119@facebook.com' Gemma Gedoquio says:

    Since human exist

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