LINKING matter-of-factly (& hypothetically) GMOs to aquaculture can mislead; But merits discussion (May 2012)

First published 27.05.2012

Food & Water Watch published in July a report which highlights the lobbying efforts by the US soy industry [“well represented in Washington, D.C. and Brussels”] in attempting to have soy-based fish feeds take a large(r) market share of the fish feed market. F&WW links the future growth of the (+/- offshore) aquaculture industry with – a ‘steep shortcut’ – GMOs… “[…] since much of the soy produced in the United States is genetically engineered (GE), consuming farmed fish would likely mean eating fish that are fed GE soy”.

When it comes to farmed salmon, the newly introduced WWF-initiated Salmon Aquaculture Dialogue (SAD)/Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) ‘responsibly farmed’ salmon standards (aiming to become the world’s n°1 farmed salmon ecolabel in years to come) requests explicitly that “Evidence of disclosure to the buyer of the salmon of inclusion of transgenic plant raw material, or raw materials derived from transgenic plants, in the feed. [4.4.3]”

In Europe, retailers such as world n°2 Carrefour have implemented GMO-free food traceability/labeling standards which apply to farmed fish (incl. salmon) products. It is thus slightly dubious to matter-of-factly link the growth of ‘ocean-farmed fish’ with ‘Monsanto and Cargill’.

Nonetheless, the F&WW report is worth a read, notably because it rightfully brings scrutiny onto fish feed ingredients, and highlights that agriculture itself has an important carbon/environmental footprint.

Soy is being promoted as a better alternative to feed made from wild fish, but this model will not help the environment, and it will transfer massive industrial farming models into our oceans and further exacerbate the havoc wreaked by the soy industry on land—including massive amounts of dangerous herbicide use and massive deforestation,” said F&WW Executive Director Wenonah Hauter.

Besides a lot of ‘if, if… ifs’; these topics indeed merit careful consideration… !

Sustainable Seafood Intelligence, News & Consultancy for Stakeholders of the Global Seafood, Fisheries & Aquaculture sectors with a focus on issues re. industry Transparency (#Top35Salmon #Top100Seafood), Economic, Social and Environment Sustainability, Ethics (#SeafoodEthics #SustainableSeafood #TransformSeafood #ResponsibleSeafood #SeafoodIntelligence), CSR/RSE & Politics… Perceptions of issues (negative & positive) impacting industry’s Social License to Operate (SLO) and acceptance. Farmed salmon & global seafood industry Sustainability Reporting benchmarks…. Multi-stakeholder sustainability thinking & analysis applied to seafood…