Salmon Revisited

Back in July, I wrote about an alarming genetically modified salmon that the FDA was considering approving for sale.

The Bellingham Herald article on the Frankensalmon focuses on the danger this fish would pose to wild salmon via crossbreeding, if they were to escape the farms (something that happens with considerable frequency). But, in my post I wrote about what I thought was the scariest thing about this fish:

Company researchers have added a growth hormone gene from the Chinook salmon as well as an on-switch gene from the ocean pout, a distant relative of the salmon, to a normal Atlantic salmon’s roughly 40,000 genes. Salmon normally feed only during the spring and summer, but when the on-switch from the pout’s gene is triggered, they eat year round.

Well, today the Herald reports that a depleted food supply for salmon is a very real problem, even without a fish with an eating disorder added to the equation.

With nearly 650 million adult Pacific salmon swimming in the ocean at any given time, the competition for food is increasing, and the already shrinking wild stocks could be crowded out…

Studies over the past several years suggest competition for food is affecting salmon runs up and down the West Coast, from Puget Sound chinook to Bristol Bay, Alaska, sockeye. In some instances, the fish are smaller when they return, making them more susceptible to predators. In others, runs are actually declining.

See, if these so-called experts would only listen to me!

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