FTT Prompt Due September 13 by 11:59 pm

In the chapter on Salmon in Four Fish, Greenberg introduces us to AquaAdvantage salmon. In your own words, describe what AquaAdvantage salmon, produced by AquaBounty, are and respond to the following: do you believe that genetically modified organisms are part of the solution to feeding ~8 billion people on Earth, or part of the problem. Why?

Share your thoughts in at least 250 words in a comment to this post by 11:59 pm on Tuesday night. By 11:59 pm on Wednesday night, respond to at least two comments.

51 thoughts on “FTT Prompt Due September 13 by 11:59 pm”

  1. AquaAdvantage Salmon are a genetically modified fish that were designed to be a faster-growing and more cold resistant version of wild salmon. They are all female and sterile, according to the company, so they can’t contaminate the wild population. The idea was to make a salmon that was more efficient to farm, while also making them cold-resistant so they were also more resilient.
    I think genetically modified fish or organisms in general could be part of the solution to feeding our massive population, but not the entire solution. Yes, larger and faster-growing organisms, whether fish or crops, would probably be a more efficient method of feeding people and if they were raised in farms it could mean the wild stocks could be left alone, but it’s still not the solution. The problem isn’t just feeding the global population, it’s having places for them to live, clothes for them to wear, etc., all of which has effects on the planet and its resources. Finding more efficient methods of feeding them would just make it easier for the population to get larger, so while it might temporarily help the problem of world hunger it would do nothing to help the underlying cause of that problem and most other problems our civilization is facing right now, overpopulation. There’s also the issue of farmed, genetically modified fish breaking out of farms which, according to the book, happens frequently, and is also a problem. Some genetically modified fish are fully dependent on people, so if they get into the wild and displace the non-GMO population it could destroy the entire stock. All in all, the potential benefits are outweighed by the costs.

    1. Rio,
      What do you think would happen if AquaAdvantage salmon contaminated wild populations? What are the supposed ecological effects? I like that you acknowledge that the “solution” is much broader than any benefits fish contribute to. I agree that the costs are high and need to be weighed in comparison to the potential beneficial effects. GMOs are not an endeavor that should be taken lightly.


      1. The company said they were genetically modified to eat more and grow faster, so it’s possible that if enough of them got into the wild they could out-compete the wild fish, and since they’re sterile they wouldn’t be able to supplement the wild stock, so it would just be bad for everything in the area.

    2. I agree with you Rio that these fish could be a part of the solution with their fast growing nature to leave some of the wild fisheries be and let them possibly make a recovery for some fisheries. These salmon might not be the solution but a good start.

    3. Rio, I appreciate that you delved deeper into the subject and identified a root cause of why we are in the predicament of considering farming fish in the first place. I was a bit laser focused solely on the subject of aquaculture when answering this question, but I think it’s important to examine the issue on a broader scale and have some understanding as to how we got to where we are now. I feel similar in the costs seeming a bit too high to risk the potential benefits.

  2. AquAdvantage Salmon are a type of genetically modified organism produced by AquaBounty that have been engineered to produce growth hormone more frequently, resulting in a salmon population that grows faster than its wild contemporaries. The farming of these salmon is also more efficient, requiring less feed to function than wild fisheries. Currently, there is only one FDA approved facility that produces these salmon, and the validity of necessity of these fish is still a heavily debated topic. Those for the AquAdvantage salmon argue that the fish (and by extension other GMOs) can help combat the increasingly more prevalent depletion of wild stocks worldwide. Those against it cite the risk of genetic contamination and the variety of economic unknowns that could potentially lead to monopolies on GMOs and the loss of jobs in traditional fisheries. Personally, I do not believe that GMOs alone are the future of food, but I do think that if managed properly, they can supplement traditional fisheries and provide benefits that these traditional fisheries lack. In Four Fish, Greenberg recounts a marine ecologist telling him that if only wild fisheries were used to supply the consumer demand, there would need to be “four or five oceans” to meet these ends. GMOs, such as the salmon previously mentioned, can produce more in less time, and can lighten the load on preexisting fisheries, giving them time to recover their numbers and then implement more sustainable practices. In this case, the goal would be to return to a state where wild fisheries remain the main source of fish, but using GMOs in the meantime to achieve this. It is important, however, to consider the dangers this path could present. Containment would need to be an absolute priority, as any outbreaks could irreversibly alter fish populations, even if the salmon AquaBounty creates are considered “sterile”. More research and preventative measures should also be put into the effects of consumption of these GMOs. Hormones such as IGF-1, which have been recorded at higher levels in genetically modified salmon, have been possibly linked to several forms of cancers (although it is both important to note that more research needs to be done on this topic and that IGF-1 is also an issue linked to wild stocks of various livestock). On top of these risks, wild fisheries would need to be maintained in order to see any growth, which would have to be a mostly government effort as corporate interest would most definitely fixate on the financially lucrative nature of GMOs alone, possibly leaving wild fisheries to the wayside. Evidently, this is a multifaceted conversation with a seemingly endless number of factors and viewpoints, and there are most likely a host of viable solutions. In my opinion, the biggest obstacle would be coming to a general consensus and choosing a definitive approach.

    1. I agree, the finances of the fisheries world influences the way people choose to progress this issue, whether or not that progression is for their pockets’ gain or the fishes’ gain.

    2. I think an interesting question that’s posed by GMOs, especially in animals, is how much – if ever – can we “return” to the wild stocks? Do we reach a point where the human population is simply unsustainable without GMO or farming/cultivation methods?

  3. Aquadvantage’s new salmon has simply been genetically modified and built to grow at a higher rate of speed so that it can fulfill the fish market demands. This new salmon would be selectively female so that you grow fattier fish and larger fish providing to collect more meat per filet. These fish have potential but would require more research and development.
    I do believe that this could be a possible solution to ASSIST in the ratio of farmed vs wild fish on the market. The release of these modded fish to the market would relieve some stress on the wild salmon fisheries. It could allow for some fisheries to make a comeback because the commercial boys wouldn’t have to harvest as much if these Aquadvantage salmon were up and selling. However, it would take a large amount of these hatcheries specifically breeding these fish to make a dent in the markets. These hatcheries would also take quite a bit of money and time to get up and running efficiently most likely. This could become a possible problem if they couldn’t keep up with demand or if these genetically modified fish were to escape even if they were sterile. There’s always the possibility that one that gets out and isn’t sterile and breed with a school of wild salmon. This would create a new genetic or hybrid salmon that could potentially become similar to an invasive species and create competition for food. This would create a disruption in the food chain. However, this is very unlikely and probably impossible if these hatcheries stayed up to code and took protective measures.
    In conclusion I think these genetically modified salmon have potential but don’t think they could become possible in time to save wild salmon fisheries and be available to markets across the world to feed the planet

    1. Tj,
      I like that you examined how the introduction of AquaAdvantage salmon to the market would affect commercial fishing activities. You mentioned that GMOs may be too costly and their implementation is a far too lengthy process; do you have any propositions for alternative solutions?

    2. Hey TJ,

      I agree with lots of points you made such that these salmon could assist in helping the ratio balance out, the hatcheries would require resources, and they could allow commercial fishermen to not need to harvest as much.

  4. AquaAdvantage salmon, produced by AquaBounty, is salmon that has been genetically modified through DNA manipulation. Following studies on the anti-freeze gene, scientists added a second copy of the growth hormone gene to salmon, resulting in fish that had a growth rate of two times a selectively bred, double-speed salmon. I believe that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are part of the solution to feeding ~8 billion people on Earth and are part of the problem. As goes with life, it is rare to endeavor into something that only has one piece, one layer. Most things in life are complex and produce various benefits, consequences, and neutral effects. Possible consequences include but are not limited to: genetic contamination, increased expenses, distrust from the consumer market, ethical concerns, ecological concerns (e.g., population mixing), loss of food integrity, and disease. In contrast to the potentially adverse effects, genetically modified organisms can be larger, rapidly growing/maturing, have high fecundity, have longer life spans, and lower costs. GMOs are incredibly variable, including their contribution to the solution and problem of food access, quality, quality, and availability. An aside- one crucial consideration is the method and means by which a GMO is modified: selection, mutagenesis, protoplast fusion, conjugation, etc. Modification methods are an example of the variability mentioned above, playing a role in whether the modification is adhering to solutions or problems regarding food. GMOs must be tested and studied profusely and closely before they are implemented or even considered to be ecologically fit and/or fit for consumerism.

    1. Hey Elle,

      I agree that most things are extremely complex in life. You brought up some great consequences that I didn’t even consider. Do you think GMOs should be consumed?

    2. Hey Elle,

      I agree with your point on how GMOs are variable based on multiple factors. GMOs most definitely need to be tested and studied before they can become a regular option for consumption.

    3. I agree with many of your statements made, specifically where you talk about how this is a complex issue and it would be rare that this issue only has one layer to it. I agree that GMOs are generally under tested and under studied. I believe that GMOs could possibly be part of the solution to world hunger but there are many things that need to be worked out first.

  5. AquaAdvantage salmon are salmon that have been manipulated to better suit human needs. It’s been decided that human’s need more salmon grown faster and year round. Now salmon have been genetically raised to grow faster and consume less of the ocean’s wild fish than previous farmed fish. I see both sides to the question; whether these genetically modified salmon are a solution or problem. Gjedrem, Greenberg’s Norwegian tour guide and skilled scientist, stated “why even allow for the possibility of starvation” when it comes to farming fish and supplying people with salmon year round (45). I agree that people shouldn’t be negatively affected by the conservation of a resource but at the same time how far should we push the salmon population before we reach “no return” in genetics and wild stock? There are most definitely pro’s and con’s to both sides of the argument. One thing that shocked me was that there were never salmon on the south side of the equator until Norwegian’s farmed salmon. The equator “acts as a thermal barrier” and salmon were never able to cross (43). I think it’s amazing that there are now salmon on both sides of the equator. Chile is now the “second largest salmon producing nation” which would have never happened without Norway’s efforts (43). Another startling fact is that “more than 3 billion pounds of farmed salmon are produced [yearly], around 3 times the amount of wild fish harvested” which sparks another question (43). Can farmed fish alleviate fishing pressure on wild salmon? Can farmed fish be the solution to salmon’s failing populations without taking resources from them? But ultimately these farmed fish affect wild fish whether it’s intentional or not. Farmed fish consume food that would have otherwise been consumed by wild stocks. Farmed fish also begin to contaminate the waters with diseases that break out. And if a farmed fish escapes it can have negative impacts on the wild stock’s run to its spawning grounds. In the end we must ask ourselves, what’s more important? Preserving a resource for future use or continuing to provide food for people today with the acceptance that wild species of salmon could be negatively affected beyond repair?

    1. Gwendolyn,
      I found your points regarding how irresponsibly allocating resources to farmed fish can do even more harm to wild stocks than what has already been done. It is certainly a very complex balancing act that will most likely result in some sacrifice being made no matter the ultimate decision, whether it be the health of human or fish populations.

  6. AquaAdvantage salmon, produced by AquaBounty, are salmon raised to essentially be quick-grown ‘food only’ fish. While I disapprove of the methods for obtaining these fish, I do understand how this is a steady temporary fix. Instead of focusing our efforts on sustaining ~8 billion people, we should focus on reducing the number of people needing these resources. Overpopulation not only devastates the number of fish in local waterways, but it destroys the habitats they require to thrive (thus only decreasing any significant efforts to increase natural population increases). As for this being a temporary solution, I support the idea of using farm/captive fish instead of the already-struggling wild-bred fish to feed the growing number of humans. There are no overnight fixes to any ecological issues going on, whether with a fish’s habitat or its species’ numbers. Even if we could fix it all overnight, the unforeseen consequences may be equally, if not exponentially, more catastrophic than the current situation(s) at hand. To conclude, I’d be more in support of naturally farming fish in the same manner we farm cattle, sheep, pigs, and fowl. Hatcheries go out, collect these wild breeds of fish alive, collect their eggs and sperm, and then do the hard work to raise these animals to be released (and further reproduced) with wild fish of their respective kinds. It’s nature at its core, just with a helping hand. GMOs (with any form of farmed species, including plants like corn, blueberries, and wheat) are an unnatural ‘helping hand’ that only discourages the natural process of reproduction within a species and leads to a series of issues of its own, for example, mutation. Chemicals alter things on a physical (seen with the naked eye) and cellular level, each with a burden the eater must account for. But do most of us do that? I don’t think so.

    1. Hey Kerra,
      I enjoyed your hypothetical comparison of fish to farmed cattle, sheep, pigs, and fowl. I think it would be cool to see your idea (natural farming) work out. Do you see that idea as long term?

    2. That’s an interesting concept but it’s kind of what salmon hatcheries do already though, unless in your idea the hatchery is also taking some of the fish aside for people to eat. Was that part of your idea?

    3. Kerra, I think that your idea of naturally farming fish is a very interesting one. However, I think it could have potential issues just like the current method of fish farming. Naturally farming other animals like cattle, sheep, pigs, and fowl requires land which is much more accessible than would be fish which would require a water source. Along with this, some fish move water ways within their life cycle which would be another logistical issue. Overall it is an interesting concept that would have very interesting solutions.

  7. AquAdvantage salmon, produced by AquaBounty, are genetically modified salmon that are more efficient than natural salmon. It is said that these modified fish grow twice as fast, require little food, and are more cold-resistant than natural salmon. The book also stated that these modified salmon are all female, as well as sterile to prevent contamination with the wild population. AquAdvantage salmon were engineered to produce growth hormone at higher rates, allowing them to grow so much faster than wild salmon. Since the modified fish are larger, they provide more meat per filet.
    I believe that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) could be a part of the solution to feeding about 8 billion people on our planet, if done correctly and as long as it is not the only solution. As mentioned, these genetically modified salmon are larger and provide more meat for the consumer. GMOs, in this case of salmon, will require less food to grow and will allow for more efficient farming. AquAdvantage salmon would take some pressure off wild salmon fisheries and allow for some fisheries to bounce back. In order to produce enough salmon to help fisheries come back, it will come at a cost, such as financially, they will take time, and use resources. Additional consequences include the potential to mess with the natural food web and chain of consumption, genetic contamination, disease, and backlash from consumers. Lots of people wish to eat naturally, but consuming to choosing to consume GMOs may interfere with their personal or religious beliefs, and I think using GMOs as part of a solution to feeding over 8 billion mouths there needs to be a realistic time frame of how long they will be needed.

  8. AquaAdvantage salmon are fish that are being genetically modified to create a “best of both worlds” situation – a fish that can grow fast, efficiently, economically, and yet also isolated from a wild environment. In that way, the AquaAdvantage fish are largely female and sterile to avoid escape and breeding into wild populations, and they are given modified genes to grow large quickly for markets. If there can be a truly sterile and isolated farmed population of fish, I don’t see why we can’t be using them to support our population as it continues to expand. It’s a hard reality to face where our growth is coming at a cost to wild populations, that if we want to preserve those populations and ecosystems we may need to turn to more “alternative” or “artificial” methods to do so. In an ideal world, a fish that is bred to be a food source can alleviate the wild stocks.

    I think that the AquaAdvantage salmon represents a scientifically advanced method to an age old concept, the human domestication and breeding of animals. Frankly, we’ve been domesticating and genetically modifying a number of terrestrial animals for centuries. Cattle, horses, dogs, all animals that we have looked to modify over time to produce more resources, better physical traits, and even our own aesthetic appreciations. Fish farming is already a well established practice that comes with it’s own risks of contaminating wild stocks. The methodology may be more technologically advanced, even “unnatural” by some standards, but I don’t see it as being (at it’s core) anything more unusual than what we’ve done for ages.

    1. Tony, I like your point that these genetically modified salmon are facing an age old concept. I also agree that it isn’t necessarily more unusual than anything else we have been doing. If anything, it seems safer than eating food that has been genetically modified for years and treated with copious amounts of gnarly pesticides.

    2. Howdy Tony,
      I just found out after reading articles that fish farming is already a well established practice. Thanks for writing that on here. I always wonder what type of modifications they put in the salmon and if it is healthy for them or not?

  9. AquAdvantage salmon is a genetically modified fish, produced by AquaBounty, with the intent to be marketed to and consumed by the public. The Canadian company strives to cultivate a more efficient salmon than its wild counterpart, claiming a two-times faster growth rate of the proposed genetically engineered fish. The thought of consuming a genetically modified product of any kind can be off-putting, but as with anything, both pros and cons can be argued when determining if genetically modified salmon should be introduced as a consumable product.

    Some could argue that job opportunities for the workforce, a fast growth rate and longer lifespan of the fish itself, and the potential to take pressure off of wild fisheries that are currently in trouble due to overfishing are substantial advantages. It seems that a closed system aquaculture approach would be safer than introducing domestic fish to a wild fish habitat, risking the possibility of modified fish competing with wild stocks.

    Alternatively, factors such as high costs and use of energy, space, and land development to accommodate this engineering could be claimed as disadvantages. The introduction of DNA manipulated fish into wild salmon habitat has the potential to alter biodiversity and spread diseases, negatively impacting viable natural resources. Although AquaBounty and the FDA claims AquAdvantage salmon as a safe product with a nutritional profile comparative to that of a wild fish, we cannot confirm these claims or the potential long-term effects they could have on our health.
    Genetically modified organisms are complex and pose both benefits as well as ramifications. It seems we must conclude if the risks of potentially harming wild fish stocks could be worth the reward.

    1. Maureen,
      You bring up a good point about GMOs, we don’t really know the long term effects they could cause. If we don’t know the long term affects it makes me wonder if people would even want to eat them. There are even issues with GMO fruits and vegetables so I can imagine there would be more with salmon.

  10. I think this is a very complex question and one that many people have very long very educated answers for but in general I am not the biggest fan of fish aquaculture. We talked about Malthus’s idea of there being limited resources because population increases exponentially but his theory is also based on the idea that resources such as food increase linearly. Yet we have not run out of resources because of innovations in food production technologies. GMOs and farming wild animals are two of the ways that humans are actively fighting Malthus’s predictions, but the question remains unanswered if these truly are solutions.
    Greenberg describes the problems with farmed salmon in his book Four Fish. One of the largest one being that despite decades of genetically modifying the salmon, three pounds of fish must be eaten to generate a pound of salmon harvested. Besides causing a lot of pollution by virtue of millions of fish being kept in similar conditions to factory farmed meat, farming Salmo domesticus also negatively impacts wild salmon ecosystems. These farmed fish escape and then compete with the wild salmon for all of their resources while being evolutionarily inferior (being infertile and being reliant on humans for food).
    One of the biggest issues I have with GMOs/ factory farming is that by modifying cows to get fat fast off of a little corn as possible, the meat itself lacks the nutrients that the Earth gives. The same can be said for the salmon. If a domesticus salmon never has what a salmon’s life cycle is meant to be, it does not partake in the salmon’s life cycle and therefore does not hold the nutrients or spiritual value of a wild salmon. This is the problem with modern western relationships to food – we do not know where our food comes from. As people that are members of a capitalist society and have fully bought into the consumerist mindset we ourselves are not actively participating in Earth’s cycles as we used to. When we learn to reconnect with natural cycles I think we will learn the true value of why it is important for salmon to be wild.

    1. Hi Lillian, I agree that this scenario is very complex and requires multiple viewpoints from experts in the subject. I appreciate you tying in Malthus’ explanation we learned about in the recent lecture, that growth is limited by resources and the competition for the resources. The way you describe society’s relationship with food (or lack thereof) further argues your point that we are working against the theory Malthus describes by attempting to alter natural world cycles.

  11. AquaAdvantage Salmon is a distinct group of genetically modified salmon that are specifically modified to be stronger, more hearty salmon. These fish are modified to be food only salmon. These salmon specifically are able to grow very fast, and survive in colder conditions than wild salmon. The females of this specific GMO salmon are supposed to be sterile as well, limiting the impact that these salmon would create on wild salmon if escaped. Looking beyond these fish as GMOs, I think that fundamentally there are problems with the salmon farming industry that would need to be solved before making AquaAdvantage salmon a consistent reliable source of food that can be used to help solve world hunger, in order for these fish to be the most sustainable food source they can be with the least environmental impact. I personally believe that genetically modified foods could be part of the solution to ending world hunger, but there are also other problems with colonization and such that need to be dealt with at the same time. Another thing that needs to be considered sustainability. Obviously everyone on Earth should have consistent access to reliable food sources, however, there would need to be actions taken so that these new food sources be used responsibly and are not used in a way that would simply create exponential population growth that will end up doing irreparable harm to the planet, and result in damage to many other species as well.

    1. Taryn, I like your points about how there are already fundamental issues within the salmon farming industry that need to be solved before getting deep into AquAdvantage salmon. It’s also interesting to think about how many foods are already genetically modified and if anyone will ever draw a line when we have gone too far with genetic modification.

    2. Howdy Taryn!

      I appreciate your comment emphasizing the holistic considerations when it comes to making a decision that could either have majorly negative or positive impacts on the rest of the world. An example of this is genetically modifying fish like Salmo domesticus and introducing them into the wild. GMOs in theory sound amazing but in practice seem to have quite a few more ecological tradeoffs.

  12. In the late 80’s, genetic engineers at Memorial University created a salmon that grew exponentially faster during the fry stage than au-naturale wild salmon; this business plan eventually evolved into billed AquaAdvantage salmon. It’s an approach to feeding the globe also seen in chickens; messing with genes can help create strains that can keep up with the appetite of humans, and unfortunately, I can’t say I entirely disagree with it. Although I’m much more in favor of beef grown on petri dishes and mushrooms or crickets cultivated in damp vertical towers, I think that genetically modifying our sustainable fish stocks – keeping them unable of messing with our natural ones, too – is something worth looking into. After all, genetic anomalies happen all the time in the wild, and we still eat these fish and come away all right. Sometimes, something weird is up, like they have three eyeballs – unnerving, but still relatively healthy. That said, increasing experimentation with fish stocks will likely result in some breaches of ethics across countries, if they haven’t happened already – correlating with down-fishing, some managers have looked at approaches for increasing the size of schooling fishes (including tuna, once the mightiest of the ocean). In essence: when done right – that is slowly, with grace, and drawing from an established pool of research, it may be all right. However, if it’s a cash grab, a ruse, or without thought for the fishes themselves and the impact of the process on the environment, I’d urge you to turn away from the prospect.

  13. AquAdvantage salmon are genetically modified to have increased growth rates for faster production and less food consumption. I believe that genetically modified organisms are a temporary solution to feeding the human population, but doesn’t address the real issue of available resources not being enough to support the continued growth of the human population. GMOs could potentially allow wild populations to recover, assuming that fish farming would not affect the wild populations which can not be guaranteed, but recovery is not enough. If the wild populations simply recover, what is stopping the same problems they are facing now from happening again, especially with the continued growth of the human race and the increasing demand for salmon? Also, this is again assuming that GMOs could be completely contained and kept away from the wild populations which would depend entirely on the humans overseeing the modified populations. If GMOs do get into the wild populations, they run the risk of wiping out the wild populations through out-competition or introduction of disease. This would also cause the population to become reliant on human help for survival. Another key factor to consider with using GMOs as a supplement to farming wild fish is whether the companies benefitting from the capture and processing of wild species would be incentivised to maintain or even increase use of wild fisheries to compete with the GMO salmon being sold. Especially in Alaska, fishing brings in a lot of money and jobs, which most likely will not be given up easily to help the populations of wild fish recover, especially with demand for salmon increasing. In terms of a solution to feeding the ~8 billion humans on earth, I do not think there is a good answer right now, but GMOs are definitely not a good long-term solution.

    1. I think your last point regarding the economic risk of introducing GMO/farmed salmon to the wider market is important as well. A lot of national fishing fleets have been downsizing due to lower catch rates and the unwieldy cost of operation, I can’t imagine that commercial fishing would do anything but downsize further if the raised salmon take up a super-majority chunk of the value of the fishery. There is a real human cost associated with the idea.

  14. Located in Prince Edward Island, AquaBounty is an organization that has used DNA manipulation to make more efficient salmon. While the term “more efficient” can be used in many scenarios AquaBounty is using it in reference to salmon growth. They discovered a gene that would cost significantly faster growth and salmon. The salmon or called AquAdvantage salmon. These genetically manipulated salmon or able to grow twice as fast as a selectively bred salmon. At the time the book was written, there was no genetically engineered salmon on the market.

    I think the use of genetically modified organisms being implemented to feed 8 billion people on earth can be a both a problem and a solution. There are a lot of lines and facets to genetic modification that I assume differ greatly among everything from species of fish to plants and crops grown on farms. The line for how far organizations can take DNA manipulation seems to be pretty blurry. While it always feels better to eat something that is “natural“, we really don’t know what constitutes the term natural anymore. One can argue that the salmon in Chile isn’t “natural“ because salmon are native to South America. However, at the same time, the salmon in Chile have been used to feed countless humans and contributed to the welfare of people around the world.

    I think it is also important to discuss the health effects of genetically modified organisms. In the case of the AquAdvantage, there probably isn’t any research on the long-term health effects of AquAdvantage salmon on humans. While these fast growing salmon can certainly help feed all 1 billion of us, they could also have harmful side effects that we are not aware of yet.

    1. I also agree it is important to talk about the health effects of genetically modified organisms and what they have on us. The is no long term studies on it.

    2. I agree with your point about the potential for danger in consuming these salmon and other GMO’s due the sheer number of unknowns when it comes to how it affects the human body. I also think this creates another question: if these fish have the potential to feed many more people than we are capable of feeding now, is it worth undermining these risks for the time being to get them fed as quickly as possible?

  15. AquaAdvanage salmon are produced by AquaBounty. These salmon are genetically modified through DNA manipulation. They were created to grow faster and bigger to keep up with the demand of the fish market. All of the salmon are female and unable to reproduce to reduce the risk of genetic contamination. They also would grow in “closed system” aquaculture and would be raised away from natural systems. I believe that genetically modified organisms are both a possible solution and a problem. They would be beneficial because they would allow fish stocks to recover. Greenberg talks about how a marine ecologist told him at the rate we’ve been eating it would take “two or three oceans” to support the human population. So if people were eating the GMO fish it could allow the other fish to recover, but there is still more research that needs to be done before this can happen. There are some issues with this as well. One topic they address is the amount of food it would take to power the salmon farms, and most of that would consist of other fish that were harvested from the wild. It could “require as much as six pounds of wild fish… to produce one pound of edible fish.” Which seems a little odd to me, they’d have to catch more wild fish to feed the farmed fish. Another issue is if one of the GMO fish weren’t sterile and somehow escaped and bred with a wild fish. That stock would be drastically affected especially if it made the future females of the population sterile. I believe when it comes to GMO salmon the risk is not worth the demand of the market. We should be focused on ways to help save fish stocks without putting them at more of a potential risk.

  16. AquaAdvantage Salmon that are produced by AquaBounty, are Salmon raised quickly to be produced for consumption fish only. This is basically a quick fix to a bigger issue, and not a term solution. The real issue is overpopulation, and not having enough resources to support the number of people and/or fish in that water. When there is an overpopulation of fish, there is a lot of crowding in the water therefore destroying the habitats that the live in and their resources that they need to survive. The same goes with humans, if there are large groups of people in one area the resources aren’t going to be as abundance in that area as others. I feel like in a situation where it comes to resources running out due to population issues like this, we have to use things like AquaAdvantage but it doesn’t always make it right. If we keep using businesses or companies like this, then we won’t really be solving the bigger picture which is a population problem. Where will we house all these people? Where will all these people live, etc.? Also, what about cross contamination between the two wild fish and “lab grown” fish. Is it a risk we are willing to take and wipe out everyone? Can they 100% guarantee the lab grown won’t spread anything. All in all, I feel like there is a place and a time for it, but we cannot fully depend on it for all of our needs.

    1. Brittany,
      I agree, we cannot fully depend on this as a solution to help feed over 8 billion people. I feel like there are too many factors involved and more research that needs to be done. As you mentioned it would be a quick fix not a long term solution.

    2. Howdy Brittany,
      Your comment made me think of the major problem of salmon lice (I think someone may have mentioned it in an earlier comment, as well I heard a talk in a class about it last fall). The talk was mostly focused on Atlantic salmon. Greenberg also talked about there not really being any wild salmon left in the Atlantic in “Four Fish.” I feel like I have heard less about salmon lice being a problem in Pacific populations. After a bit more research I found this article (the link below) that also links the thought of there being less lice in the Pacific salmon because of the lower ratio of salmon farms to wild salmon population.


  17. AquaAdvantage salmon are basically modified fish genetically and are AquaBounty produced. The goal for these is to be sold by a marketplace so that people can consume the salmon. The fish markets goal for these salmon is to grow bigger. These modifications cause the GE salmon to produce growth hormone year-round. According to greenfacts.org The AquAdvantage Salmon founder animal was generated in 1989 by micro-injecting a recombinant deoxyribonucleic acid (rDNA) construct, composed of a element from an ocean pout antifreeze protein gene and a protein-coding sequence from a chinook salmon growth hormone gene into the fertilized eggs of wild Atlantic salmon.

    I don’t believe that genetically modified organisms are part of the solution to feeding ~8 billion people because I feel like in each region there is plenty of fish for people to get out and get their fish that way. But in some cases that can be apart of the solution especially when you live in a place where a specific species aren’t abundant.

    Salmo domesticus has been bred to eat a lot and grow fast in a controlled environment, but it has lost many of the fierce, determined traits that make a wild salmon able to swim against powerful currents, withstand fluctuations in temperature, and spawn in a river besieged by predators (45.) That statement really caught my eye and I didn’t know that. With this AquaAdvantage salmon are they now able to gain back their traits and be able to swim against powerful currents, withstand fluctuations in temperature and spawn in a river besieged by predators afterall?

  18. AquAdvantage Salmon are genetically modified to grow faster. That being said I think that won’t even be close to enough to feed eight million people. Also genetically modified fish would be creating a bigger problem with over population.

  19. Your comments were thought provoking and well thought out, great work everyone. The most common theme I saw was that you were cautious about accepting the risks of GMO’s and were carefully weighing those risks against the benefits of feeding people.

    Risks to weigh included “potential long-term effects…on our health” (Maureen), or the trade-offs surrounding loss of potential ‘wild’ fishing jobs (Danae and Jaden), or ethics of farming domesticated animals in the first place (Lillian), and motivation for the industry – is it a “cash grab”? (Amanda).

    But these risks, you point out, may be manageable because world hunger is a very real thing and “GMO’s could be part of the solution to ending world hunger” (Taryn). Additionally, Tony points out that “[humans] have been domesticating and genetically modifying …animals for centuries” and he doesn’t see creating GMO’s as “anything more unusual than what we’ve done for ages”.

    Some of you, though, are staunchly against it, like Rio who says “the costs of farming GMO fish outweigh the benefits”, and Jocelyn who thinks that “the risk is not worth the demand of the market”.

    I think most of you agreed that although this AquaBounty fish might be a part of the solution, it will not be the silver bullet to solve world hunger. Especially since this species (it it actually a different speies?) still requires around three pounds of wild-caught fish to create one pound of marketable salmon despite all our efforts to domesticate it. So perhaps the salmon, high up in the trophic food chain, isn’t a good choice for a farmed fish, but how does one fight consumer demand and market forces?

  20. AquaAdvantage salmon is a gentically modified version of salmons and how they are changed in order for faster growth rates and better breeding. The dangers are ever present and could lead to health risks in both salmons and humans.

    1. to add on as I am not good at long sentencing, it is a dangerous process of forced evolution and trying to mapipulate genom into how you’d want it. While it can be done relitely harmlessly it is still always a gamble. With genetic modification we can create giant salmon that can feed hundreds of people however it can also be a risk factor that leads to several health deteriatations of salmon humans and wild life. I do not know what else to put here so I am going to stop writing.

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