If this technology—as reported by the Los Angeles Times—proves to be as good as proclaimed, one of the world's great foods will become much more accessible, and that is a very good thing.
The critics of the process forget that humans have been producing and consuming genetically altered food since biblical times.
“With a global population pressing against food supplies and vast areas of the ocean swept clean of fish, tiny AquaBounty Technologies Inc. of Waltham, Mass., says it can help feed the world.
“The firm has developed genetically engineered salmon that reach market weight in half the usual time. What's more, it hopes to avoid the pollution, disease and other problems associated with saltwater fish farms by having its salmon raised in inland facilities.
“The Food and Drug Administration has yet to approve what would be the nation's first commercial genetically modified food animal.
"This is the threshold case. If it's approved, there will be others," said Eric Hallerman, head of the fisheries and wildlife sciences department at Virginia Tech University. "If it's not, it'll have a chilling effect for years."
“Some in the fish farming industry are leery of the move toward engineered fish.
"No! It is not even up for discussion," Jorgen Christiansen, director of communications for Oslo-based Marine Harvest, one of the world's largest salmon producers, wrote in an e-mail.
“Christiansen said his company worries "that consumers would be reluctant to buy genetically modified fish, regardless of good food quality and food safety."
“Some critics call AquaBounty's salmon "Frankenfish." Others say the effort is pointless.
"I don't see the necessity of it," said Casson Trenor of Greenpeace USA — which opposes all genetically modified organisms, including plants. "We don't need to build a new fish."
“The FDA has completed its review of key portions of AquaBounty's application, according to Chief Executive Ronald Stotish. Within weeks, the company expects the agency to convene an advisory committee of outside experts to weigh evidence, collect public testimony and issue a recommendation about the fish's fitness for human consumption.
“The process could take months or more — which still sounds like progress to the company after its 14-year, $50-million investment.”