AQUABOUNTY a recent name in the stock market, $AQB ticker symbol was actually founded in 1991 that is a biotechnology company based in Maynard, Massachusetts, United States. This company raises natural, genetically modified Salmon in fresh water, aquaculture farms.
GMO FISH: In 1989, researchers at Memorial University succeeded in “using advanced genetics to develop an Atlantic salmon that grows faster during the early, most vulnerable stages of growth.”
In 1991, AquaBounty (formerly called AF Protein) is created to commercialize the innovation, with a view to bring it to market. It was a tall dream that took them 12 years before they could submit their first regulatory study to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for review and approval.
12 years later AquaBounty Salmon got the FDA approval in 2015. AquaBounty spent US$60 million on developing the fish, combining the genes of the Ocean Pout (Zoarces americanus) with the genes from a Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) that allow it to grow rapidly.
AquaBounty had to wait 20 years for the FDA to review more than 50 studies demonstrating that the salmon posed no unusual risks before the agency approved it in November 2015. Currently, because people don’t have enough knowledge of this, they resort to what they do best, name calling, calling this Salmon, the Franken fish. (after Frankenstein, the hideous human made monster by scientist, Victor Frankenstein, an English fiction by Mary Shelley).
The Ocean Pout “is an eelpout in the family Zoarcidae. It is found in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of New England and eastern Canada. The fish has antifreeze proteins in its blood, giving it the ability to survive in near-freezing waters.” Wikipedia.
AquaBounty, the company, has struggled in the last 20 years waiting patiently for the FDA to approve their genetically modified Salmon. This has wrought havoc on their finances, (as they had hoped for an earlier approval, seeing that all genes are natural, and fish/eel related, not inter species). Recently, they sold their first order of 4.5 tons to a buyer in Canada.
BENEFITS TO EATING THE AQUABOUNTY SALMON:
- This salmon grows to three times the size of the Atlantic Salmon in half the time, harvesting is early and so is the profitability.
- AquaBounty grows this fish in a controlled environment and keeps a security check on all the processes, with zero contamination, zero antibiotics, and safe, humane methods of harvesting. (Ocean fish has high levels of chemical pollutants, micro plastics, and mercury in their flesh).
- AquaBounty Salmon emits the least amount of greenhouse gases compared to growing poultry, pigs, or cows in farms.
- The texture of this farm raised salmon and Atlantic ocean salmon are very similar, with zero taste difference, but far more positive nutritional content, because of zero pollution.
- This farm raised salmon has shown great potential to being the top, safe, healthy protein of choice, compared to poultry, pigs, and cows, as demand for protein is projected to quadruple by 2050.
- Raising this fish in a controlled environment provides constant checks at each stage, making sure that each final harvest is free of disease and is a healthy product, safe for all consumers. (There are no fish lice, or other forms of fish disease, as the water is constantly recycled).
- Genetically engineered just once, thirty years ago, this gene has resulted in the safe and monitored development of this hybrid variety of Salmon, that has been approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in 2015, for mass consumption.
- This hybrid variety is farm raised right here in the U.S, so the entire season of growing the batches of fish has been under watchful eyes, making sure nothing is out of place, as consumer safety is top priority for AquaBounty.
The aqua farms are now being built as AquaBounty is expanding and growing, getting ready to meet the demand for Salmon in the United States, Canada, and Europe for the present. Later, as the company succeeds, it has the potential to meet global demand from Asian countries, like Japan, China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Russia, where Salmon consumption is high.
Genes from the Chinook Salmon, particularly, the gene for protein-coding sequence is extracted, and the gene for antifreeze protein is taken from the Ocean Pout (an eel fish). These two genes are inserted into the fertilized Atlantic Salmon egg, which results in the hybrid AquaBounty Salmon.
Chinook Salmon is the largest species of Salmon in the Pacific Ocean. (Genus: Oncorhynchus). “Its common name is derived from the Chinookan peoples. Other vernacular names for the species include king salmon, Quinnat salmon, Tsumen, spring salmon, chrome hog, Blackmouth, and Tyee salmon.” (Wikipedia). Taking the growth hormone genes from such a fish as huge as the Chinook, is exactly the reason why the AquaBounty Salmon also tends to grow large as the Chinook Salmon.
The antifreeze protein taken from the Ocean Pout is for the fish to handle frigid ocean temperatures just like the Pout does, living miles below the ocean. This gene will keep the fish agile, its meat texture firm and delicious when harvested.
Here’s a Chinook Salmon that Larry Raney caught fishing on the Big Manistee river in North Michigan. After fighting the fish for 10 minutes he hauled it in. It measured 42 inches long and 28 inches around.
He posted a photo of himself with the fish on Facebook saying, “The good lord blessed me with an absolute giant.” Then he gently threw it back in the river, because he knew this fish had thousands of eggs which could result in at least another 100 salmon being born.
Here’s the reason why he did not keep the fish, “I didn’t need to kill the fish; I already have 75 pounds of Alaskan salmon in my freezer,” Raney said. “I’m not one to puff my chest out at the boat launch because I have a big fish in my cooler.”
Nature relies on us to do the right thing. Larry Raney is a true fisherman who did the right thing. He did not think of himself, he thought about the future. God bless him!
AquaBounty has been researching and studying this genetic sequencing since 1991. Now it’s been 30 years, and many studies have been done regarding the efficacy and safety of the hybrid variety salmon that has come as a result. Getting the FDA approval in 2015 has been the result of an arduous climb in data collection and research done by AQB.
The genetic AquaBounty salmon is double the size of the Atlantic Salmon at 18 months. They grow faster, eating less feed, providing a better yield at harvest time.
AquaBounty’s venture into raising Salmon the scientific way while keeping everything natural (using natural genes from fish species) can soon see positive results for everyone directly or indirectly involved with this company. Even consumers, like me, will soon, one day be eating a fish that has zero contaminants. I believe this is a safer alternative to eat a gene modified fish, rather than eat a chemically contaminated fish from the Atlantic ocean, its flesh filled with micro plastic. Wouldn’t you agree?
Which fish would you bet on?
Thank you for reading this article. I love writing articles on such subjects. So if you can be kind enough to share this article with a friend or a loved one, I’d appreciate your efforts in doing so, because the future of chemical free foods lies in our hands. The consumer is king, so you and I decide on what we are going to eat.
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Disclaimer: I own shares of $AQB. But the reason I wrote this article is because I believe in AquaBounty and the disruptive technology of gene sequencing and modification that it brings to naturally speed up the growth of their salmon. This AquaBounty salmon can be the fish that can bridge the gap between the Atlantic Salmon and other species of Pacific salmon which are becoming extinct. AquaBounty is making available, their Salmon for safe consumption purposes.
As the global population reaches 9 Billion, food scarcity, especially the lack of good, healthy protein will soon become real, a thing of the present.
AquaBounty is a true pioneer heading the race to feed a global population with a healthy protein, that can be grown fast in a safe environment. I trust and hope my article informs and educates you. Please share this article.
Source: All photographs belong to the photographers of record. Info graphics by AquaBounty and others.