Very sad news! GM is coming, fast growing salmons to fulfill our need for fish food. Long term consequences unknown but i think the fast growing chickens stuffed with all the hormones and anti-biotic showed us that there is no good in messing with nature for commercial profits
A genetically modified salmon, rear, and a non-genetically modified salmon, foreground. Photograph: AP
Buried in a prospectus inviting investors to buy shares in a fledgling biotech company is an arresting claim attributed to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation.
“Commercial aquaculture is the most rapidly growing segment of the agricultural industry, accounting for more than $60bn sales in 2003. While land-based agriculture is increasing between 2% to 3% per year, aquaculture has been growing at an average rate of approximately 9% per year since 1970.”
And then the prospectus for the US company AquaBounty offers this observation to tantalise prospective investors: “The traditional fishery harvest from the ocean has stagnated since 1990.”
So what is to be done to satisfy the world’s seemingly insatiable appetite for fish? An appetite that will see the consumption of farmed fish outpace global beef consumption by nearly 10% within five years, according to the UN?
AquaBounty, whose shares are sold on London’s Alternative Investment Market, thinks it has the answer. And if, as looks increasingly likely, the US government agrees, the implications for global food production will be enormous. Welcome to the new world heralded by the “GM salmon”.
The company’s dream of selling genetically modified salmon eggs that allow the fish to grow to maturity in half the normal time received a giant fillip last week when it announced that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was close to granting approval.
A positive FDA response would see salmon become the first GM-engineered animal marketed for human consumption. Dramatically speeding up the time it takes to harvest a mature salmon could stimulate a huge rise in production, making salmon plentiful and cheaper, GM enthusiasts say.
AquaBounty expects to receive the nod by the end of this year, meaning GM salmon could be on supermarket shelves within three years. The company’s share price doubled on the strength of the announcement.
But the euphoria the company and its investors experienced following last week’s announcement quickly evaporated amid a furious backlash from consumer groups.