Quote: Originally Posted by Bcool
But why the need to put the fish farms in Panama?
What makes you think it was a need? Leasing land in Panama is cheap. A farmer in Panama leased his land to Aqua Bounty, he has a great site for growout.
Secondly, what happens if there's an escape of the genetically altered fry or year old fish into ocean waters?
From tanks on land, in a recirc facility? Highly unlikely.
Even if the gene is specific only to salmon (both Atlantic & Pacific) meaning no problems of Frankenstein Great White Sharks, adult salmon will eat salmon fry and juvenile salmon.
Well, there aren't any Atlantic salmon found in Panamanian rivers, it's far too warm for them to survive. But if the escapees were to be eaten, which is most likely what would happen, how is that a bad thing? They can't reproduce if they're eaten, so the gene can't spread.
Does this not mean that the DNA will spread throughout the wild stock over the course of time depending on how many escapees and how often they escape?
No. They would have to breed with wild Atlantic salmon for the gene to spread through wild stocks. The probability of that is vanishingly small, for a number of reasons. No local population of Atlantic salmon, the surface water and ocean temperatures are lethally high for Atlantic salmon, in all life stages. Last, and most importantly, these Atlantic salmon come from hatchery stock, which means they've had selection pressures during domestication. A domesticated animal loses much of it's natural instincts. Prey drive is practically non-existant. I've seen wild caught Atlantic salmon and their spawn...you have to be very cautious in how you approach the tank. They are nervous, edgy, and will refuse food if you freak them out. Domesticated farm stock aren't like that. They're by comparison calm, relaxed, and willing to feed on pellets. All they've ever eaten are pellets. They won't easilly forage for food in the wild even if they do manage to escape and somehow survive the lethal temperatures.
Thirdly, living on Vancouver Island one is only too aware of the problems of the massive build up of waste below the fish pens that causes marine floor habitat kill extending many miles beyond the actual farms; fish lice infestations in farmed salmon has led to a tremendous increase in fish lice affected wild salmon.
Yup, very true. But this is a recirculation facility...the fish waste is treated and removed. Ozone and uV light kills anything in the effluent. There is no contact with wild fish.
So far, no solution has been found for either of these problems.
That's not true. Recirculation facilities eliminate polluting the sea floor. Preventing sea lice is an ongoing issue, but there is a solution. Stop building farms directly in the path of migrations. Or, as part of the licensing conditions, move the cages during smolt and spawning runs.
That still won't eliminate sea lice. We have rivers in Atlantic Canada where the Atlantics return, they don't have to pass by any aquaculture site, and they still have sea lice on them. I mean, where do you think the farmed fish got the lice from? They don't leave the hatcheries with the lice on them...