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September 23, 2008

Fish farming and Genetically Modified Fish for Feeding a Future World



Aquaculture is a major part of the worlds current and future food supply. It currently is the fastest growing food producing sector in the world. Genetically modified (GMO) fish are likely to dominate future fish farming by growing over two times faster than regular fish and being up to 30% more efficient with feed than regular fish. This would also make the GMO fish 350% more efficient with feed than cows are.

Fish farms operating in 2015 will be providing half of all available fish supplies.

World total demand for fish and fishery products is projected to expand by almost 50 million tonnes, from 133 million tonnes in 1999/2001 to 183 million tonnes by 2015 (FAO).

The FDA is clearing the way for genetically modified fish and animals to be supplied as food.
The FDA said genetically engineered animals, created for human use or consumption, will be regulated in the same way as veterinary drugs, meaning they will go through a safety review process. Aqua Bounty of Massachusetts is hoping to market its genetically engineered salmon, which grows to maturity in less time than wild or farmed salmon, but it awaits approval.


A cow requires around seven kilograms of feed grain for each kilo of meat, while a carp requires around three kilos or less. Fish farming economizes on feed grain, and of course on the land area needed to produce it.



Aqua Bounty has stipulated that it will market only sterile, all female advanced hybrid salmon. There can be no gene flow to wild salmon because sterile fish can not reproduce. Aqua Bounty fish reach market size twice as fast and convert feed into body mass 10% – 30% more efficiently than traditional broodstock. So genetically modified fish could be given 2 kg of feed or less to produce 1 kg of meat.



Aqua Bounty grows 4–6 times faster as a juvenile than wild-type salmon. Zuoyan Zhu of the Hydrobiology Institute of the Academia Sinica in Wuhan, China, has created a fast-growing yellow river carp. Researchers in Cuba and the UK have engineered tilapia to grow and put on weight up to 300% faster (Rahman et al, 1998). Perhaps the most extraordinary example of the power of this approach was demonstrated with a mud loach developed in Korea that grows up to 35-fold faster than normal (Nam et al, 2001).






FURTHER READING
More aquaculture will be performed in cities

Previous aquaculture coverage

Aquaculture, meat factories and vertical farming

China is consolidating and modernizing farms for greater efficiency and adopting genetically modified seeds for higher yields

The world produces about 280 million tons of meat each year.

Poultry 93 million tons
Pig meat 101 million tons
Beef 67 million tons
Currently nearly 42 kilograms of meat is produced per person worldwide. In the developing world, people eat about 30 kilograms of meat a year. But consumers in the industrial world eat more than 80 kilograms per person each year

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