Genetically modified fish - increase in quantity presents risk to environment
4th February 2003
Bioengineered fish brings abundant food and medical benefits, but also bring environmental risks. Scientists have altered the genes of the fish to grow more quickly so they can be harvested and used for food.
The Food and Drug Administration is analizing the possibilities of mixing with natural populations of fish, wipe out their habitats and permanently alter other species through interbreeding.
It is being studied the development of genetically modified salmon, trout and tilapia eggs to sell to industry. The salmon, for example, can reach maturity in three months, compared with one year for salmon with naturally occurring genes.
In January, the Pew Initiative on Food and Technology warned against developing genetically modified fish before the environmental hazards are better understood and controlled. The Pew Initiative is a nonprofit biotechnology research organization that hosted the Capitol Hill forum yesterday.
A study released by the group said government regulators lack expertise and proper procedural rules to assess the risks of genetically modified fish. Bioengineered fish are regulated under FDA rules developed before scientists introduced genetic engineering.