Editor's note: Yonathan Zohar is professor of marine biology and chairman of the Department of Marine Biotechnology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and is interim director of the newly established University of Maryland Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology. His research and writings focus on the application of modern biology and biotechnology to fish farming and aquaculture.
The debate over genetically engineered salmon should be put in the proper context: As the world's population grows at an accelerating pace, so does the consumption of seafood.
This is true not only because there are more mouths to feed, but also because as people become more aware of the health benefits associated with eating seafood, more are switching from meat to fish. To satisfy this demand, we have become very sophisticated fishers, with ever-growing fleets, factory fishing ships and very effective gear.
We efficiently hunt our own seafood in the wild; it seems natural to all of us, while we do not hunt for wild chicken, beef or pork. But fish is harvested at a rate that exceeds the fisheries' ability to replenish themselves.
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