This is the future of food: a genetically engineered super-salmon from an outfit called AquaBounty. Unlike other farmed Atlantic salmon, Super-Salm carries a gene from an eel-like creature called the ocean pout that allows it to grow to marketable size in half the time it takes a regular Chinook to reach maturity, 18 months instead of three years.
The Food & Drug Administration says it's safe. Said so back in May, but the ruling didn't come out until just now. Why? The conspiracy theorists say it's because the Obama administration didn't want the news released before the election. Anyway, there's now a 60-day comment period. Once approved (if approved), Super Salm could be in fish markets within two years. And then, who knows what else? Faster-growing pigs, beef resistant to mad-cow disease, and so on.
This ocean pout character (one ugly fish, by the way) has a remarkable ability to live in near-freezing water. Natural antifreeze in its veins. It doesn't go dormant. That's the ticket to Super-Salm's rapid growth. AquaBounty says it will take great precautions to prevent SuperSalms from escaping the North Atlantic hatcheries; you wouldn't want them to mate with "regular" wild salmon, would you?
For now, according to an article in the New York Times, the exec director of the Center for Food Safety in Washington, DC, says "genetically engineered salmon has no socially redeeming value. It's bad for the consumer, bad for the salmon industry and bad for the environment."