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Latest Mad Science: Turning carnivorous fish into vegetarian ‘hippie fish’ and other GM aqua-ventures

PHPatrick Henningsen
21st Century Wire

The latest breakthrough in aquaculture: vegetarian feed for carnivorous farmed fish.

No, these recently converted vegetarian fish can’t survive on muesli and falafel. Lab techs will be feeding them other things…

Researchers in Maryland have come up with a new lab solution to one of the main problems facing the unsustainable fishing industry. The seafood industry is currently depleting wild stocks by scooping up too many small fish, which they sell to fish farms to feed larger, carnivorous aqua-beasts like the tasty Cobia fish.

So they’ve devised a solution: turn these fish-eating, farmed carnivorous Cobia into proper vegetarians, so as to spare all those innocent little wild fish. Sounds reasonable enough, right?


IMAGE: Here is what a wild Cobia looks like. They normally eat other little fish.

This new research program is the brain child of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Department of Agriculture. According to the NOAA’s Web site, “It doesn’t matter to the health of the fish where the nutrients come from. By incorporating marine algae, fish processing trimmings, and a variety of plant products, we can formulate high quality fish feeds without relying on wild-caught fish.”

Is this true? Does it really matter where a fish’s nutrients come from? This process of domesticating fish may be OK, if only confined to isolated farms, but the fish may indeed change over generations – and even NOAA cannot tell us what those results will be. So where is this latest development in the farmed fishery market lead us towards?

One problem is that this type of “solution” will not stop actually fishing trawlers from over-fishing small fish. It will merely decrease the demand in one area, and increase it in another. It could also lower the price of smaller fish which will in turn open up new markets for that product (Already, we can hear the progressive-liberal screams in the background, ‘Not unless the government steps in and regulates the market!”).

The point here is that Bio-tech firms do not fix problems, be they environmental, or economic. What this industry does well is twofold: to infiltrate and takeover the whole existing supply chains, and thus entire markets – by creating a demand for their own GM creations.

If you follow the trajectory of this type of research, you can expect the naturally sourced fish feed stock to be phased out and then replaced by a GM version. Where there’s a market for profits, there will be a Bio-tech multinational and their genetically modified food producing partners waiting in the wings to supply this market. It’s almost a certainty. At that point, you have farmed fish being fed GM feed stock. Oh, wait – too late…

In actuality,
this is already happening in many fish farms who are now using genetically-modified soya, rape seed, cotton and maize feed stock

On the dirtier end of the industrial fish farm business, the Bio-tech giants are already well entrenched, and poised to control sections of the market by breeding GM fish, like Salmon – bred in a lab in order to grow faster and bigger. The risk here is that they will eventually interbreed with wild species and will eventually degrade the genetic make-up by introducing ‘franken-fish’ DNA into an already perfect wild fish habitat. Sadly, this is already happening, and Bio-tech giants will most likely be left by federal agencies like the FDA to regulate themselves by conducting there own research on their own products and then putting forth to the public a rather dodgy assessment as too the risks. A BBC report from this past May confirms all of this:

“Scientists from Canada have found that transgenic Atlantic salmon can cross-breed with a closely related species – the brown trout.

The fish, which have been engineered with extra genes to make them grow more quickly, pass on this trait to the hybrid offspring.

The research is published the Proceedings of the Royal Society B..

However, the biotech company AquaBounty, which created the salmon, said any risks were negligible as the fish they were producing were all female, sterile and would be kept in tanks on land.

The transgenic salmon are currently being assessed by the US authorities, and could be the first GM animals to be approved for human consumption.”

Oh, the joys of aqua-culture…

Singularity Hub adds here, “The genetically modified salmon are produced by AquaBounty Technologies, based in Maynard, Massachusetts. Their AquAdvantage salmon are Atlantic salmon that combine a growth hormone gene from Chinook salmon and a control gene from an eel-like creature called the ocean pout that cranks out the growth hormone. The result is that the AquAdvantage salmon grow faster, cutting the time to reach market weight by about half – 18 months compared instead of three years required by normal salmon…”

1-gmo-salmon
GM Salmon: do you really want it that bad, that you don’t care where it comes from?

There you have it, GM fish from feed to fish, to your dinner plate.

Now for the $1 million question: can Aquabouty Bio-tech tell you how, by consuming their synthetic fish with elevated levels of growth hormones and other chemicals, it will effect future generations of humans?

Hold on. Here’s a novel idea: if our corporate geniuses and six-figure salaried government agency heads applied the same effort and funding in trying to get humans to consume more non-meat proteins as they are doing with fish… then we wouldn’t actually need exotic Bio-tech to invent ever more synthetic animals and foodstuff!  Our parents’ generation managed to survive, even thrive, with much, much less meat in their diets – and so can we.

Over and over, they tell us that, “the demand is increasing, we need GM fish to feed the masses.” Meanwhile, no one is asking a more fundamental question: why do humans need to eat so much processed fish, and why we need to have smoked salmon sandwiches in every gas/petrol station and mini mart? Moreover, why do millions of domesticated house pets like cats require smoked salmon twice daily for their meals?

The same goes for the increasing demand for beef – mainly for cheap frozen, convenience and fast food. Why do we need to eat beef 5 times per week, and why would we crave it so much that we’d accept any version of a burger – even one grown from stem cells in a petri dish?

These are the fundamental questions that your government are afraid to ask. Why? Simple, because it might mean that incoming money and perks from the multi-billion dollar Bio-tech lobby – might suddenly stop, if they dared ask such deep questions.

Sadly, that’s about how useful your trusted government leaders will be in this situation.

If you want to see where the GM fish market is actually heading in full detail, read this report.

More on the hippie fish…

Baltimore researchers turn carnivorous fish into vegetarians

Darryl Fears
Washington Post

Cobia is a sleek and powerful fish that devours flesh and doesn’t apologize for it. Open its belly and anything might pop out — crab, squid, smaller fish, you name it.

Recently, three Baltimore researchers — Aaron Watson, Frederic Barrows and Allen Place — set out to tame this wild and hungry fish sometimes called black salmon. They didn’t want to simply domesticate it; hundreds of fish farmers have already done that. They sought to turn one of the ocean’s greediest carnivores into a vegetarian.

The researchers announced last week that they pulled off the feat at a laboratory in the Columbus Center in downtown Baltimore. Over the course of a four-year study, Watson said, they dabbled with mixtures of plant-based proteins, fatty acids and a powerful amino acid-like substance found in energy drinks until they came up with a combination that cobia and another popular farm fish, gilt-head bream, gobbled down.

The conversion of these carnivorous fish to a completely vegetarian diet is a first, according to the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, and a key to breaking a cycle in which the ocean’s stocks of small fish — menhaden, anchovies and sardines — are plundered by industrial fishing partly to provide fish feed to aquaculture, one of the fastest-growing economic sectors in the world.

“It would take the pressure off harvesting the menhaden fishery,” Place said, referring to the bony and oily little fish billed as the most important in the sea. Menhaden, caught off Virginia’s coast, feed a plethora of marine animals, including dolphin, swordfish and birds.

The research was published in this month’s issue of the journal Lipids and is supported by a paper published earlier in the Journal of Fisheries and Aquaculture. It’s part of a race to replace feed from wild-caught fish as the diet of choice for farm-raised fish, set in motion by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Department of Agriculture in 2007.

Feeding both farm fish and more than a billion humans from wild fisheries is environmentally unsustainable, according to NOAA and just about every nonprofit conservation organization that monitors oceans.

Fearing that menhaden are severely overfished by an industry that sells it worldwide for oil, animal feed and sport-fishing bait, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission in December sharply reduced the amount that can be harvested.

Aquaculture was once thought to be a solution to overfishing in the world’s oceans, lakes and rivers. After the explosion in the human demand for seafood, the need to feed farm fish started depleting the stocks aquaculture was supposed to save…

Read more at WP

READ MORE GMO NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire GMO Files

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