If the White House signs off of the FDA's recommendation that these genetically engineered fish are suitable for human consumption it will be the first genetically engineered fish to end up on our tables.
The “AquAdvantage” fish, that the FDA has now declared exactly the same as our wild Atlantic salmon, includes a “gene cassette” from the Pacific Chinook salmon that is spliced into the Atlantic salmon that give it the instructions to grow larger along with a gene that encodes a protein called a growth factor hormone. The gene cassette also contains a stretch of DNA from the ocean pout, an eel-like creature that lives in extremely cold environments. Normally, the eel's DNA keeps an antifreeze gene turned on constantly so it does not freeze, however, AquAdvantage has coupled this gene with the growth factor hormone so the Atlantic salmon experiences a continual growth spurt. Like a teenage boy, this genetically-altered Atlantic salmon’s appetite would make it constantly ravenous, meaning that it would eat everything around in sight. This mutant fish can grow up to 13 times the normal size of an Atlantic Salmon, and reaches maturity in half the time.
There have been no long term studies done on what effect these hormones will have once ingested by humans, or what they could do to our young children.
If these fish escape their pens they will wreak havoc on the environment. They will interbreed with natural wild salmon and taint one of our greatest food resources. Also, because of their ravenous appetite there will be a breakdown of the food chain, and greatly reduce the biodiversity of our waters.
The House of Representatives voted in June to restrict funding for work on the AquAdvantage report at the FDA, clearly showing their opposition to the approval of the fish. Several senators asked the FDA this July to abandon work on the AquAdvantage approval process.
We, the people, need to have our opinions heard about these genetically engineered fish. If we hope to have choice on what we feed ourselves and our children in the future, we need to ban these fish today.