Meet the Frankenfish. Coming to a plate near you.

fishyMeet the Frankenfish, the genetically modified salmon that will soon hit your dinner plate. The AquaAdvantage Salmon (AAS) has been introduced with growth hormone genes from the Chinook salmon and from an eel like fish known as the ocean pout. The reason for this is to increase the time it takes to grow to maturity. By altering the genetic code of this living creature, it is now designed to grow to market size in half of the time as a salmon that wasn’t altered in a lab. This in turn grants producing more fish for sales and profit in a smaller window of time.

Is it safe for human consumption? The FDA says sure. Just before Christmas they had concluded in their investigation that the genetically enhanced (GE) salmon is “as safe as food from conventional Atlantic salmon”. And since a major election was the focus of most groups, why would anyone want to concern their interests on a measly fish?

I am for starters. Altering the genetic code of something designed to have a normal life cycle is inhumane and morally disturbing. Most of all there are no regulations in place to label the Frankenfish to include ingredients. So we have another pat on the back given okay from the organization designed to manage what the American public ingests.

The labeling is just one of a few concerns we are facing. In the situation a Frankenfish makes it into the wild, there is a chance of crossbreeding with another fish creating who knows what. They haven’t a clue how this hybrid fishes hay-wired DNA will react with the human body. Since the current methods of DNA altering are less than 95% accurate, the GE fish is coded to be infertile. But that leaves five fish out of every hundred to still be fertile. 5% isn’t that alarming of a number if we’re only dealing with a hundred. But that won’t be the case.

Fish farms are heavily crowded, which builds dependence on antibiotics to keep the fish “healthy”. Fish are forced into grimy enclosures where diseases and parasitic infections are a common danger. A process called “grading” is where a machine sorts the fish by their size. By passing through a series of grates, the fish are bounced and bumped in the procedure causing painful scrapes, sores and damage to their scales.

Driven by profit, these fish are forced to reside in bathtub sized pens housing up to twenty seven full grown fish. This causes stress related injuries and deformities which are something the farms are familiar with. As many as 40% of the fish are blind which is overlooked since it doesn’t affect profit. And to top it all, these fish actually go insane for the lack of use of their natural instincts to roam large bodies of water.

Overall, Frankenfish are on their way to our grocery stores. The monster has been created and there’s no stopping it. Even if (doubtfully) the U.S would ban these creatures, another country will pick up the biotechnology. So regardless of our efforts, we’ll somehow be affected by this.

And my greatest concern is, like all other FDA approved products, what am I consuming? Beef, chickens, dairy and now fish are all products of a laboratory. Spending their lives cramped and confined while being loaded with various hormones and antibiotics, these animals can’t be completely safe to consume. If these injections assist in forcing the animals to grow bigger than average, could that be why obesity is so common these days?

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