Don't Let Frankenfish Harm Endangered Salmon
Last year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released its Environmental Assessment on genetically engineered salmon. Astoundingly, this review overlooked the very real threat that these mutant salmon pose to already endangered populations of wild salmon. Tell the FDA to conduct a full Environmental Impact Statement before allowing any further approval! Aquabounty, the company that is seeking approval from the FDA claims that these "frankenfish" will be raised in confined pens and never released into the wild. But we know that every year, millions of farmed fish escape into the wild.1 The fish that Aquabounty is proposing to create is a result of crossing the genes of an eel-like creature called the ocean pout with those of Atlantic salmon. These fast-growing, genetically engineered fish could decimate wild salmon.
Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that a release of just sixty GE salmon into a wild population of 60,000 would lead to the extinction of the wild population in less than 40 fish generations.2
Worse yet, Aquabounty plans to market the eggs. Once these mutant salmon eggs are on the commercial market, there will be little chance of tracking individual fish to guarantee they don't mix with wild populations. Please tell the FDA to complete a full Environmental Impact Statement examining the substantial risk these "frankenfish" pose to endangered wild salmon populations. Overfishing, habitat loss, and climate change are already causing endangered salmon to slip ever closer to the brink. This is a threat we can prevent before it's too late. Please ask the FDA to consider the impact these fish would have on endangered salmon. Thank you for your commitment to America's disappearing wildlife and wild places.
1. Environmental Damage from Escaped Farmed Salmon http://www.puresalmon.org/escapes.html
2. Trojan Gene Paper (Howard, et al. 2004) www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.0306285101
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