*Taken from Reason. Written by Ronald Bailey.
The scientific consensus is that genetically-altered salmon is safe. But that hasn’t stopped Congress from voting to ignore some inconvenient truths.
Last week the House of Representatives approved an amendment [PDF] to the agricultural appropriations bill. The amendment, co-sponsored by Reps. Don Young (R-Alaska) and Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.), prohibits funding for U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of biotech salmon developed by AquaBounty Technologies in Waltham, Massachusetts. The vote was applaudedby a motley collection of “consumer” and environmental activist groups. Opponents assert that the biotech fish, dubbed “frankenfish,” threaten wild salmon and human health.
First some background: AquaBounty’s faster growing biotech salmon eat 10 to 25 percent less feed than do conventional Atlantic salmon. AquaBounty salmon grow twice as fast as wild Atlantic salmon as the result of the installation of two genes, a promoter gene derived from the eel-like ocean pout and a growth hormone gene from Chinook salmon. People have long eaten both species.
Aquaculture already provides 50 percent of the fish that people eat around the world. Enhancing farmed fish production could relieve pressure on the world’s already way overfished [PDF] wild fisheries. So, on the face of it, it would appear that biotech fish are a win for consumers and the environment.