: FRANKENFISH - NOT!
Please read if you are concerned about the impact of genetic engineering on wild fish... <!--http--><a href="http://www.time.com/time/magazine/articles/0,3266,39961,00.html" target="_blank">Frankenfish</a><!--url-->
I would like to try to stop the approval of this unless the current escapism problem of tens of thousands of similar salmon is stopped.
Although our mission is to have fun, it's our obligation to protect the indigenous species from harm. At the current rate of farmed salmon escape, the already depressed wild stocks would be seriously impacted by such a mutant.
If anyone has any experience in these matters, please let me know. It's time to do something about this issue.
The average fish farm produces as much effluent as a city of 40,000 humans that has sewage treatment
The once pasty tan flesh of farmed salmon is now (a) colored with xantaxanthan (shrimp pigment) in the pellet feed and flavored with ferol bromide (same way). The pellets are mostly oil, as is the resulting flesh. Imagine that - an artificially colored and flavored fish!
Tens of thousands have escaped in both oceans and they are settling in to the native salmonid streams of the world. I have freinds who have caught several in a season... in Seattle! (These are atlantic broods)
The pens they are grown in are sub-standard and prone to seal damage and destruction by storms.
The fish are subject to infections and disease so they are loaded up with antibiotics.
The thought of turning the noble atlantic salmon into a heiffer pisses me off to no end. Even worse, the aquaculture business doesn't care enough about the indigenous (native) strains to guard against escape.
Maybe we should start with Stephen Conroy PhD and Kurt Beardslee of Washington Trout, perhaps TU and ASF, etc...
03-03-2000, 10:16 AM
Aquaculture and geneticaly altered fish could very well be just as devastating to our fish as the industrial revolution and overfishing. Right now Salmon are most at risk from it, but it does not end with them.There has been talk of Striped bass aquaculture projects along the coast. This stuff is for real and a potential nightmare.My brother does alot work for ASF I will find out what they are doing to oppose this garbage and maybe we can do something to help the cause.
03-03-2000, 12:00 PM
Juro: I completely agree with your assessment that until foolproof safeguards are put in place, this practice should be halted. But.... I'd like to offer some other thoughts on the subject.
Think about cattle for a moment. Before we perfected the farming of beef cattle there was market hunting for indiginous species like buffalo. Now, the native americans always hunted buffalo and killed a lot of them, but they always had enough to go around. It wasn't until "whitey" came to town, that the buffalo started suffering from over-exploitation. Currently, the remaining buffalo in this country are remnants and more of a novelty item than anything else.
If we can find alternatives to commercial over fishing which will work and are safe to the environment (I have to believe we can) I think maybe we can prevent some of our fisheries from going the way of the buffalo. Feeding the enormous population of the earth is going to continue getting harder and will require even greater exploitaiton of resources. Fish farming, if done right, could also be the savior for our struggling marine resources if we can figure a few bugs out.
This is not to undermine your concern, but I offer it to make you think about not throwing the baby out with the bath water. I have eaten native Atlantic salmon, and can tell you it is a very strong an unique flavor that most people who are used to eating farm raised salmon would have a hard time getting used to. I also think that eating a steak off a cow from the 1700s would probably shock your taste buds equally. Just imagine what the earth would be like if we had never figured out how to farm cattle, chickens or hogs. What resources would we have left?
As an FYI, there is already a large fish farm in Fall River which raises striped bass for commercial sale.
Steve - I agree there are paybacks from agricultural advances... like perhaps even the success of our species. As you already understand, my problem is with the methods and the lack of concern for the impact of what these businesses are doing.
On the range, the cows weren't escaping and diluting the buffalo's genetic integrity, and they weren't competing for their spawning habitat. We just rustled them slow dumb cows up and cooked 'em at the campfire if they got free. The combination of the inability to control the risks of what escapes into he sea / added to the seriousness of the impact created is where I draw the hard line. This is not to argue your points, indeed there are definite benefits and realistic needs generated by our success as a species on this beautiful blue orb in the cosmos we call Earth.
Since this industry is worth so much money, why do we not restrict the rearing operations to the now empty tank where we free'd Willy from for instance? I took my daughter to Newport Oregon to see Keiko face to face, and that tank could raise a truckload of salmon I tell you. Built in filtering, zero escapement, the works! http://220.127.116.11/images/flytalk/Wilk.gif If these businesses want to play, they'll have to pay (I say). Just dumping nets in the sea doesn't cut it.
Not to come across as argumentative Steve (really) but I must make one comment on the wild vs. farmed fish comment. One of these days let's grill a wild ocean coho from the Northwest tip of the Olympic peninsula, splaked on a young alder "Y" branch, and slow smoke-broiled with no seasonings over green applewood sprigs on red embers by the wild pacific coastline. There ain't no amount of ferol bromide that activates my "savory" sensing tastebuds more than that. There is no red like the wild red meat of the real thing. Sure, salmon once in the river is not worth much after the spawning metamorphosis ensues. This is less true for males than females, and even less true of steelhead over salmon. The generation of those rich red yolk-filled eggs really drains the hens at spawning time. Every single dead dry salmon carcass was a red meated gourmet treat while still in the salt though. This thought used to make me kinda sad even though I was big into C&R; and in sterile glacial headwaters this is the main source of nutrients in the ecosystem.
Anyway, pleasure to discuss these issues, and there are clarly two sides of every debate. I hope we can do something to keep the historically rampant human exploitation syndrome out of this fragile balance.
03-03-2000, 08:46 PM
I am by no stretch of the imagination conversant in the facts of this issue but from a selfish and gut level my response is a big "YES" to anything that puts another nail in the coffin of the negligent comercial and native american harvest of our native stocks. Too many times have I visited a place teaming with salmon one day to arrive a couple days later to find the bottom strewn with hundreds of dead male salmon. The females have the eggs and are more valuable so the males are thrown back to keep under the quota as long as possible. Surely something should be done about the serious problems involved in fish farming and I'll throw some elbow grease into the effort to make that happen but I don't want that effort to kill the future of the business. Have there been any cost/benefit studies concerning fish farming?
03-04-2000, 07:53 AM
Aquaculture using unaltered non invasive species is one thing. Man made genetic mutants is another. We can clean up polluted waterways and work to reduce overfishing including the use of responsible aquaculture. My concern is how do you cleanse the gene pools of our native fish once they have been altered by the man made freaks.It's happening with Atlantic Salmon now will it be happening with other fish ten, twenty or thirty years from now.
The appearance of domestic Atlantic salmon in wild pacific steelhead streams caused an uproar. In many places the limit was eliminated for sportsmen to keep as many as they could catch. The problem is, tens of thousands escape yearly and the sportsman's catch stats are a drop in the bucket. The average schmoe's reaction (wow - no limit?) seemed almost happy about it and made many of us sick to our stomachs. The University of BC in Victoria discovered that these fish are fertile and have the capability of reproducing in pacific streams. There is even a study that indicates potential for hybridization with pacific trout.
I thought "why don't they use local species instead of atlantics?"... but taking a look at the atlantic scene, local biologists and sportsmen are no more relieved by the fact that the bio-engineered salmon is derived from the same root species here in the atlantic. A native salmon is a native salmon, and no fish - even if it started the same 30 years ago - can take it's place in the Gaspe Peninsula, the Miramichi, or the countless streams around Northern Europe and Northeast Asia.
BOTH Pacific and Atlantic stocks are threatened.
Yeah, we gotta eat 'em and this is a good way to generate food for the human population... but like any risky business it must come with controls that prevent such hazards from affecting the intricate balances in our rapidly disappearing native salmonid pool.
I think the way to go is to (in whatever small part) get involved with the various organizations that be to raise awareness and lobby for tighter controls on net designs and escapement prevention, increase the responsibility of this industry, and keep that FRANKEN FREAK out of our native salmon and steelhead streams!!!
Just found an image of fresh WILD coho fillet to remind me of what nature can do given the chance...
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British Columbia Coho Salmon</font><!--1-->
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