Imagine youâ€™re at the ocean with your family on vacation. Youâ€™re carelessly swimming around having fun, when suddenly you spot a huge fish that you believe to be a shark. You frantically swim to shore only to find out that this gigantic fish is not a shark, but a strain of genetically engineered salmon. This fish creates a world of uncertainty for native fish survival. These mutant fish are on the verge of being released into natural aquatic settings, which will only bring heartache for admirers of native fish lovers, and uncertainty to the health of fish consumers.
Genetic engineering has emerged as one of the most powerful transforming technologies known to this generation. Scientists can almost transform any organism into a â€œmore desirableâ€ life form. Scientists can transfer beneficial traits of a particular gene from one organism to another. There has been a burst of genetic modification activity in aquaculture and development since the 1980â€™s, especially in fish. One reason fish are so popular is that they produce eggs in large quantities and those eggs develop outside the fishâ€™s body. Another is that aquaculture is one of the fastest growing food producing sectors globally. This is why the majority of aquaculture biotechnology research has focused on production. Scientists have modified at least 14 fish species including varieties of carp, trout, salmon and channel catfish. These fish will grow 2 to 11 times faster than normal fish. Increased growth means reaching marketable size sooner reducing costs for fish farmers.
These fish appeal to fish farmers because they reduce the cost of actually raising and marketing the fish, but they pose a dangerous threat to the environment. One of the major concerns raised by transgenic fish is the possibility that a transgenic species raised in open water pens will escape and spread their traits by