Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Gen Mod Salmon - Symptom of Overpopulation

The US Food and Drug Administration has been asked to weigh in on the health effects of a genetically modified salmon for public consumption.

As a person who has spent the past ten years quietly working on trout and salmon habitat reconstruction, even protesting Bush era water diversions on the Eel River in California, I am seeing this new development not through the lens of conservation but through the lens of planetary overpopulation.

Yes, too many people on the planet. There I said it, and the world did not collapse...well not just yet.

If you stop and think about 99% of every conservation initiative on the planet right now and draw a line to its source, you come to overpopulation. Try it today. Water quality. Habitat. Global warming.

Shark finning is a perfect example of this. 40-70 million Sharks are harvested each year for just their fins, leading to drops in regional populations of up to 80%.

Meanwhile a massive grassroots campaign is trying to stem the shark killing tide, but the tide owes it entire existence to overpopulation in Asia, and the rest of the world.

Getting back to genetically modified salmon. I am 120% against this. For reasons that run the gamut from poor science, to lousy animal husbandry, to the simple fact that we as a species far too often rush ahead with a scientific answer to the challenges of our existence. We marvel at our own brilliance without the ability to look ahead 80 years or look back 80 years to learn from previous generations.

Make no bones about it. Overpopulation is here, it is now, and it is an issue we all need to start talking about through the lens of our individual conservation agendas. When we see media pieces about genetically modified salmonids that grow to ten times market size in half the time we should be saying "let's figure out a way to work with the resources we have now, instead of building another shaky bridge for subsidized population expansion."

Not a very popular thought. Try engaging friends with children on this issue. But we must, and we must also push back when the US Food and Drug Administration is asked to weigh in on another genetically modified life form.

Patric Douglas CEO

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