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Just say no to Frankenfish

Posted: July 21, 2011 - 8:54am

Why do people so often want to “improve” something that’s already working just fine? There are many examples of that compulsion throughout human history, but we’re concerned about a new one: genetically modified salmon, also known as “frankenfish.”

It was bad enough dealing with farmed Atlantic salmon, but now the fish-farming industry wants to throw this new freak of manipulated nature onto our plates. We can’t figure out why anyone would want to eat a test-tube fish that combines the genetic material of an Atlantic salmon, a Pacific chinook salmon, and an eel.

Alaska’s congressional delegation — Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich, and Rep. Don Young — have signed letters asking the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to reject these fish for consumption by humans.

The FDA is considering an application by Aqua Bounty, Inc., to raise these weird fish in Panama, and then import them to the United States. The genetic manipulation allows these fish to grow faster than real fish, and there is a legitimate concern about how these fish might affect normal fish when they escape.

The freaky fish also could hurt the market for wild salmon, especially if it’s carried in stores without labels.

A total of eight U.S. senators and 15 representatives signed letters opposing FDA approval of frankenfish. We’d like to sign on, too.

Just because we have the technology, it doesn’t mean we should cut and paste genetic material willy-nilly in hopes of building a perfect salmon. We already have the perfect salmon, after all. It’s been proven over and over that wild Pacific salmon — Alaska salmon, to be specific — is the healthiest, tastiest fish humans can eat. Don’t mess with a good thing.

— Ketchikan Daily News, July 18

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