In a controversial effort to produce more fish faster, one company is making this fantasy a reality. And salmon isn’t the only fish they’re “improving.” Frankenfish or future favorite? You decide.
AquaBounty Technologies has been around for about 20 years, and they may finally be putting their research on your dinner table. The company, located in Waltham, Massachusetts, has been playing with their food for a while now, trying to make it an easier asset for today’s growing population.
Originally working with salmon, trout, and shrimp, AquaBounty is almost ready to release AquAdvantage Salmon into the world. This salmon has undergone some modifications to make it grow faster, thus allowing more of it to be available to the people at a faster rate. The fish, which borrows genes from the Chinook salmon and the ocean pout, grows to full adult size in almost half the time traditional salmon take.
AquaBounty is taking precautions to keep these fish from mating with traditional salmon by making sure each and every one is female and sterile, just in case they ever do get out of their farms. (Sounds strangely reminiscent of Jurassic Park, doesn’t it?)
Even though we’ve been eating genetically altered veggies for years (anyone who gardens knows all about hybrid tomatoes, cucumbers, corn, and several others), people are already up in arms about what this means. They’re calling it “Frankenfish” and they’re worried that this is a gateway project which will lead to genetic modifications of other animals, like cows and pigs.
The company refers to the fish as “advanced hybrids,” and they are also working on improving trout and tilapia.