As of this writing, the Food and Drug Administration was seriously considering whether to approve genetically modified salmon and allow it to enter the U.S. marketplace. Trout Unlimited strongly objects to such a move for a variety of reasons, including the threats such salmon pose on the genetic integrity of wild salmon stocks and their overall health.
In an interview on the nationally broadcast public radio show, Living on Earth, author Paul Greenberg recently weighed in, arguing that instead of greenlighting the production of fake salmon – so-called "Frankenfish" – the U.S. government should be doing what it can to rebuild its diminishing stocks of wild salmon in the Lower 48 and protecting the abundant and healthy but threatened stocks in Bristol Bay.
Here is an excerpt from the interview:
"While the government seeks to boost farmed salmon supplies through transgenics, it is simultaneously letting wild salmon go to pot. At the headwaters of Bristol Bay, Alaska, the spawning grounds of perhaps the most productive wild salmon runs left on earth, the international mining giant, Anglo American plans to construct Pebble mine. The largest open pit copper and gold mine in the US. Mines of this nature are notoriously bad for fish. Just this summer, a copper mine failure in China's Ting River killed millions of fish. A similar disaster in the Bristol Bay fishery could mean the destruction of around a quarter of a billion pounds of fish.
Precariously, about the same amount of salmon that Aquabounty hopes to produce with its transgenic fish. US Environmental Protection Agency has the power to stop Pebble Mine through the Clean Water Act, but has so far failed to act. More transgenic fish, less wild fish. You have to scratch your head at a government that's planning that kind of seafood menu for its citizens. Instead of endorsing a risky experiment in genetic salmon modification, wouldn't it be better if our leaders protected wild salmon habitat? In the end, we'd have just as much fish on our plates, and a safer environment to boot. Personally, I'd hate to go into a restaurant and have a transgenic fish be the only salmon option on the menu. If that ends up being the case, I might just order the chicken."