Sunday, December 30, 2012

Frankenfish or Dinofish

Shannyn Moore's latest column in the Anchorage Daily News on GMO fish started my gears grinding again. Not that I'd touch an 'Atlantic Salmon' with a ten foot pole with all the hormones and chemical therapies used to keep them alive in pens. Besides just not tasting right. I guess I'm like the small rodents that won't eat GMO corn. I sense some danger there somewhere, even when it's hot smoked.

AquaAdvantage is counting on most people not being able to notice anything wrong with their new version of Atlantic salmon since nobody notices anything wrong with the current version. Of course, most folks haven't been a commercial salmon fisherman like me to have had so much top quality salmon readily available to consume than one person can tolerate. I admit it, I'm spoiled on good fish.

There are some serious flaws with the hype to get this new GMO version of the Atlantic Salmon on the market. As for feeding the world, there is a snowball's chance in hell that any seafood at all will find it's way into Sub-Sahara Africa. In fact, there is a snowball's chance that it will end up on Appalachian dinner plates either. The U.N. figured tilapia would be 'the fish that will feed the world.' They were wrong. Just look in grocery stores, especially ones in third world countries.

As for growing twice as fast: that means these fish have to eat twice as much. What are they going to eat? They like other seafood, and that takes food out of the mouths of other commercial species. If fed corn, wow!, you're feeding GMO feed to GMO fish, how awesome. Not. Tilapia fed corn is considered as inflammatory to the body as a breakfast of straight bacon. Remember, 85 % of disease is caused by inflammation. The Europeans did a lot of research on GMO crops and don't like even the thought of it. The research was damning. In this country, the FDA just uses the company's own research. How cute!

The Federal Government may well allow open ocean feed lots for these fish as the way to get more profit back to the GMO community of companies, Monsanto included. I realize that saying this has no effect on the companies pushing the GMO wagon along. They have their own channels of influence to 'git 'er done.' And I have no insight into how to stop them except to point out what I think adds up to a danger to society and the environment.

To start with, where would this stop if allowed to begin in animals? What kind of creatures could we begin developing? Would we develop hordes of flying Tasmanian devils that could rip insurgents, or American citizens, to shreds. Researchers certainly could get creative. My first concern was the fact that they use a growth gene from an eel to really get the pounds of meat on, and the bones and teeth and fins. Do they stop growing when at a nice market size, or do they keep on growing? Some other land animals like iguanas have this same trait. I think in the wild these organisms die before getting too big. Or do they just grow real fast and then stop at the right size?

The dinosaurs had this 'grow big' trait too. Who's to say that these new fish wouldn't keep on growing if they found enough food. If a school of say 20,000 of them escaped, like often happens in the existing farmed salmon industry, there could be behemoth fish swimming all over the ocean eating who knows what. That is a question that you probably won't get answered. Even if these things are grown inland in swimming pools like catfish.

While I was on a Kibbutz in Israel, they were raising fish in ponds, had tank trucks, a cold storage plant, etc. They said 'Moroccan Jews' from Beit Sean would sneak around and steal fish. Who's to say the same thing wouldn't happen with these fish, and they get put into the environment like starlings or Tibetan blackberry were in North America.

If there is a big 'oops' and this gets out of control, the investors sure don't have to worry. The corporation just files bankruptcy, and they form a new corporation with a new name and keep right on chugging along. If that's even necessary. Has any corporation been sanctioned seriously for environmental disasters? Not so much. But recently looking at a list of 32 abandoned major cities in the world throughout history I'm reminded that being great, if indeed we are, doesn't mean we will last. And it was mostly bad leadership that did the places in.

The citizenry now, as back then, are screaming to stop the insanity before it's too late. I have a bit of direct experience with eating food that isn't compatible with my health, yet is touted widely as saving humanity from starvation. Wheat. I went to a Naturopath a couple of years ago for peripheral neuropathy (skin going numb) and other skin problems I've had since childhood. He said I was intolerant of wheat. It took a year and a half to completely kick the wheat habit, but now a multitude of problems have corrected themselves. Food can easily be made to be toxic, yet be widely advertised as healthy and even subsidized to promote the consumption of such. Nobody can argue with that.

I'll bet that the exiting head of the FDA, Lisa Jackson, is bailing out so she isn't implicated in this train wreck, and others in their realm. Let somebody else be in the wheelhouse when it goes off the tracks. In a way this started with Tyson's relationship with Clinton and Tyson's new ability to buy into Alaska's fishing industry, thanks to Clinton privatizing the fish resources with Individual Fishermen's Quotas. Now IFQ's are wreaking havoc on the marine environment and our fish supplies are dwindling and someone thinks we need a replacement source of fish. Just fix the fishing industry by ditching the privatization.

Well, now that the system is cast in stone, like in the government would have to spend billions to buy out fishermen who bought quotas. The vastly fewer fishermen left, who won in the program, don't want change either. We have run our coastal economies into the ditch, but going into the other ditch isn't the answer.