Damn Science and Consumer Interests! Congress Moves to Ban Biotech Salmon


Doesn't look scary to me.

The ridiculously hypercautious Food and Drug Administration has slowly inched towards approving the sale of farm-raised biotech salmon developed by AquaBounty. The biotech salmon have a gene from other fish species installed that enables them to grow faster using about 10 percent less feed than regular farm-raised salmon. Already aquaculture provides 50 percent of the fish that people eat around the world. Enhancing farmed fish production could relieve pressure on the world's already way overfished [PDF] wild fisheries. So biotech fish are a win for consumers and the environment. But that's not how certain members of Congress see it. As the AP reports:

The House has moved to prohibit the Food and Drug Administration from approving genetically modified salmon for human consumption.

The FDA is set to decide this year whether to approve the modified fish, which grows twice as fast as the natural variety. An advisory panel said last year that the fish appears to be safe to eat but more studies may be needed before it is served on the nation's dinner tables.

If the salmon is approved, it would be the first time the government allowed such modified animals to be marketed for human consumption.

Alaska Republican Rep. Don Young offered the amendment to a farm spending bill, and it was approved Wednesday by voice vote. Young argued that the modified fish would compete with wild salmon in his state.

As public choice theory predicts: If the buggy whip industry can't prevail in the market, its lobbyists will seek to prevail in Congress.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

64 responses to “Damn Science and Consumer Interests! Congress Moves to Ban Biotech Salmon

  1. What the fish?!

  2. Alaska Republican Rep. Don Young offered the amendment to a farm spending bill, and it was approved Wednesday by voice vote. Young argued that the modified fish would compete with wild salmon in his state.

    God fucking damn it. Are we really that far gone that congresscritters aren’t even trying to come up with some sort of “for teh childrunz” justification anymore? No shit it would compete. That’s the point, asshole.

    1. Competition will make the Hillstrand brothers have to solely rely on their music.

    2. And it is not as if demand for wild Alaskan Salmon is going anywhere.

    3. Are we really that far gone that congresscritters aren’t even trying to come up with some sort of “for teh childrunz” justification anymore?

      Fucking rent seeking! How do they work?

  3. another example of the so-called “free market” seeking to limit competition & curry favor w govt in seeking to exclude others.

    1. libertarian solution: limited government

      OO’s solution: Top Men. Top. Men.

    2. OO: With due respect, may I suggest that you read some public choice theory before you comment further on these types of issues?

      1. Shorter Ron Bailey: STFU, OO, you stupid cockbag.

        1. Ron has a little class. You have none.

          1. Good point.

      2. Indeed. The link is already in the article.

    3. Yeah, getting Congress and the FDA to shut down the competition is a “free market” approach… troll, stay under your bridge.

      1. the “free market” also uses collusion & dumping (plus the govt) to limit competition.

    4. Reason needs a better class of troll. This is weak, weak.

    5. Congressmen blatantly calling for special favors for local industries is the free market now? God, you’re an idiot.

      1. he didnt dream that up on his own einstein. he’s no doupt “servicing” contributors & “protecting” local industry…from “free market” competition.

        1. So what would you do to correct this injustice? Limit the market further or limit this guy’s ability to limit the market?

  4. Just when I thought I’d stop singing the Marvelous Breadfish song to myself, something shows up to remind me of it.

  5. Alaska: big oil, little fishes.

  6. Yeah, I’d bet that all the people who go to Alaska to fish for salmon would be urinated off to find out that the normal salmon had been replaced with bigger salmon!

    As someone who goes salmon fishing on Lake Michigan, I wish they would start stocking that lake with these new super salmon. It would be great if the fish got way bigger.

    1. And wouldn’t these super fish be better at competing with invasive species like Asian carp?

      1. No, the super-fish will be living in pens.

        1. Uberfische. If they are ever released they will destroy everything in their path! (That’s the 1st alternate reason why they should be banned. 2nd is “we shouldn’t be messing with nature. 3rd is “we don’t understand the effects of GM animals.”) So basically we’ve already got 4 bullshit excuses lined up already.

  7. I’m of a mind that our only hope is armed resistance.

  8. This seems to over-simplify the arguments on this issue. Just saying.

    1. NM: “Young argued that the modified fish would compete with wild salmon in his state.

      1. But is that all he said? I think that’s NM’s complaint.

  9. I will get excited when they try to ban a farm-raised salmon that actually tastes good.

    My sense of outrage is off today.

  10. Rep. Young is, as expected, shortsighted and stupid. Genetically modified salmon in the market allows his state’s wild salmon fishermen to advertise that theirs is not genetically modified, that it’s fresh from the Alaskan waters and all that. I bet the price of wild Alaskan salmon would increase, especially if the modified fish puts the farm raised regulars out of business so the only choices are real or freaks.

  11. Christ etc: I, for one, am hoping that biotech researchers will finally produce a fish of any type that I think tastes good, say, one that tastes like a well-marbled porterhouse steak.

    1. Try Tunafish.

      1. Jumbo perch are my favorite fresh water fish. After that crappies and blue gills.

        As far as salmon go, I agree that they are absolutely worthless to eat. I love catching them, but can’t stand eating them.

        1. Freshwater goodness=Walleye! If you don’t live around the great lakes, go to the nearest Jewish population center and look for “yellow perch”, it’s the same thing.

          1. I realize that this is heresy in MN, but bah humbug when it comes to walleyes.

            They are boring to catch and they don’t taste as good as panfish.

            I don’t get why people here are so obsessed by these. They taste fine, but don’t fight at all when caught.

            1. In my (limited) experience the fight depends on the size. Anything over two pounds is decent (but when you sucked as bad as I did at catching them then anything seems like a whopper).

              But you’re right, a 1 lbs catfish probably puts up more of a fight then a 3lbs walleye.

              Taste-wise i think they’re great, but not worth the money when you’ve got cheap Asian catfish (Swai) on the market that tastes almost as good as rainbow trout without the bones, skin, and half the price.

              1. In all honesty, one of my favorite fishing activities (especially with the kids) is to go down to the river bank and catch carp.

                Fight better than 90% of all fish, you don’t have to clean them (just throw them back) and the kids can goof off on the river bank while waiting for a bite.

    2. I want a cow that tastes like tuna.

      Oh wait, I have one of those already.

    3. The secret with just about any fish, Ron, is butter. Pan fry some Swai or cod with a bit of butter and some Old Bay or Cajun seasoning.

      1. if you don’t like that you’re worse than Stalin.

  12. Ahh, Yawn Dung, the great congressman from my home state. (That moniker is the only intelligent thing to have come from Arliss Sturgulewski’s insipid gubernatorial campaign that was blown out of the water by Wally Hickle.)

  13. So much for vat-grown meat. It was a nice dream.

  14. I understand their point, but not from a competition point. If, however, these GM fish somehow get into the wild, they will wreck food chains and do irreparable harm to the ocean. Can’t you people see that? Jesus Christ, it’s almost as if you guys want to destroy the world just to say, “See, we could fucking do whatever we wanted. Hahaha.”

    Yeah, mutant superfish being set free in the oceans sounds like a fucking terrific idea!

    1. Damn you, Sharktopuss!

    2. I can’t tell if this is a joke or not.

      1. Whatever, dude. And the Sharktopuss (sic) comment? Hardy-fucking-har. Can you not see the potential problems that would arise by letting a superfish into the ocean? Ask the Aussies how that rabbit thingy worked out for them?

        These GM fish have no business being developed. I’m sorry, but the risk of destroying the oceans for the sake of some bigger salmon? Yeah, that’s a great plan.

        Same thing with the GM plants. We’ve all seen what can happen if that goes wrong. Why would introducing a mutant fish-and they eventually will end up in the wild as some sick libertarded joke-end up any better?

        1. Shorter version: I hate technology, and Norman Bourlag can kiss my ass.

        2. –Same thing with the GM plants. We’ve all seen what can happen if that goes wrong.—

          Oh God yes. Their cars do suck.

          1. Same thing with the GM plants. We’ve all seen what can happen if that goes wrong.

            Yeah, a billion more people can eat.

  15. The scientists make it sound so neat and clean – “we take this gene from one species and insert it into another and we get this wonderful new trait in the end product.” But the reality is the genetic engineering process creates massive collateral damage, causing mutations in hundreds or thousands of locations throughout the plant’s or animal’s DNA. Natural genes can be deleted or permanently turned on or off, and hundreds may change their behavior. Even the inserted gene can be damaged or rearranged, and may create proteins that can trigger allergies or promote disease. GMOs were introduced in 1996. Over the next nine years, multiple chronic illnesses in the US nearly doubled ? from 7% to 13%. Allergy-related emergency room visits doubled between 1997 and 2002 while food allergies, especially among children, skyrocketed. We also witnessed a dramatic rise in asthma, autism, obesity, diabetes, digestive disorders, and certain cancers.” You think that’s a coincidence?

    1. fuck off, slaver

    2. Tim! I’m over here!

    3. I recommend the thimerasol sauce with the gluten-wrapped peanuts, paired with a 44oz HFCS beverage.

  16. As a fish monger I can tell you with certainty, the wild caught fisheries are winning the PR war.

    You’d be amazed how many people think farm raised fish are literally poison.

    1. let alone genetically engineered farm raised fish.

    2. I’m no longer amazed by the overwhelming majority of people who believe any number of obviously wrong things.

    3. Yeah, I don’t get the bias against farm raised fish either.

      I got a behind the scenes tour of the fish auction in Honolulu this year and they guy giving it to us went on and on about how many of the tuna that were caught had big problems with parasites.

      I’ve also knocked my fair share of lampreys off salmon. Those are really gross.

      1. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wi…..y_fish.jpg


  17. I’m a vegetarian who doesn’t believe in killing animals for food, and even I think this is ridiculous. Once again, the government is afraid of the free-market paired with science. I’m surprised though, that this time the FDA is actually on the good side.

  18. Id rather the gubmint throw money towards the science of fish farming (anti-libertarian, yes) than ban it. This is some seriously important shit when it comes to future food supplies and restoring the ecological integrity of the seas.

  19. And our leaders in DC can’t understand why more young adults go into science. Why spend all that time studying so you can invent something that only gets outlawed.

  20. The gene that’s added is a gene for antifreeze, so the farmed fish can grow during the winter. Still want to eat it? I don’t – and if it were approved, it would be practically guaranteed to get out into the wild, so I’d have no way of avoiding it. In libertarian terms, this genetically modified salmon is like flailing one’s fist about where it will hit other peoples’ noses.

    Furthermore, “farmed” fish are mostly fed feed made from wild bycatch that just doesn’t happen to be from a popular species. If we’re worried about the fisheries, we should just eat the bycatch as is, rather than using it as fish food.

    I may not approve of the reasons why this amendment was offered, but it is a good amendment.

    1. antifreeze has genes?

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.