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Posts Tagged ‘gmo’

GE Salmon

They came for our taro. Is it any surprise that fish is next on the list? Today, federal officials in the U.S. are considering approval of the first genetically modified fish. GMO-salmon. Ick.

Salmon are sacred. It’s time to show our solidarity for indigenous peoples, first nations, and fishing and nearshore communities the world over. We’re a fish and poi culture, and we’ve got to be concerned about genetic modification of native species. Genetic modification is a part of a broken industrial food system that just doesn’t work. It isn’t serving communities, farmers, fishers, or consumers. We want sovereignty… over what’s on our plates. And we’re saying no to untested, unlabeled GMO foods.

From our friends at Food and Water Watch:

Franken-Fish have won the race to be the first genetically engineered animal approved for human consumption. The aquaculture industry has genetically engineered a fish that grows at twice the normal rate, so they can get it to market sooner and make more money.

The scary thing is, the FDA doesn’t do its own testing of genetically engineered animals, it relies on information provided by the company that wants approval. And because GE salmon are being considered as a new animal drug, the process isn’t focused on what happens to people who eat genetically engineered animals. So on top of the health concerns posed by raising salmon in crowded factory fish farms that rely on antibiotics and other chemicals, the FDA could be adding the unknown risks of GE salmon to the mix.

The FDA is the same agency that’s in charge of overseeing the egg industry, and we see how well they’ve done that job. The FDA does not have the capacity to ensure the safety of food that is not genetically engineered, they certainly should not be in charge of allowing the first GE animal into our food supply.

We’ve got just 12 days until the FDA takes formal steps to approve GE salmon, so it’s up to us to demand that President Obama direct the FDA to reject this request.

Take action to stop this mutant fish from reaching your plate:
http://action.foodandwaterwatch.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=4693

(Illustration at top is by the talented Glenn Jones at threadless.com. His GE Salmon shirt is now sold out!)

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From our friends at the Hawai’i Farmer’s Union:

All FARMERS and FRIENDS of farmers are invited to the next meeting of the Kauai Chapter of HFU, on Monday, May 24, 2010, from 7-9 pm, at the Lihue Neighborhood Center, on Eono Street. We will have a featured speaker on the water issues on Kauai, plus additional topics to be presented:

  • A brief history of NFU/HFU
  • What HFU can do for you
  • What you can do for HFU=Join! Farmers & Friends are welcome!
  • An invitation for agricultural leaders to join the core group of the Kauai Chapter
  • An invitation for one of our farmers to fill the vacant seat on the Board of Directors

For more info call Patti Valentine at 652-0433, or email us: HFUKauai@gmail.com. Additional meetings are planned around the island this summer and winter.

Our mission: Hawaii Farmers Union advances the rights of farmers to create vibrant and prosperous agricultural communities for the benefit of all through cooperation, legislation, and education.

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Will anti-technology hippies embrace videos on the internets?

The ground-breaking documentary “The Future of Food” is now up on hulu.com, and the reviews from commenters are pretty hilarious. Apparently rooting FOR public-interest journalism and advocating sane regulation of genetically engineered foods makes you an “anti-technology hippie.” If that’s true, we’ll wear the badge with pride. If you haven’t already seen this film, or want to learn more about the controversy surrounding GE food and regulation, check out the film here:http://www.hulu.com/watch/67878/the-future-of-food

(Word to the wise: It IS sponsored, so you have watch about six commercials throughout the 1 1/2 hour film)

The Future of Food documents the disturbing truth behind engineered foods that have quietly filled U.S. grocery store shelves for the past decade. More about the film here: http://www.thefutureoffood.com/.

You can learn more about GE food in Hawaii at our website, or from our friends at Hawaii SEED at www.hawaiiseed.org.

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On September 18, the bill to ban genetically modified taro unanimously passed First Reading in Maui County. Congratulations, Maui!!  Second and Final reading on this extremely important bill will be coming up this Friday, October 2nd.

From friends on Maui:

Ban on GMO Taro for Maui County–we’re almost there! Take part in this historic action and express your support!

If you have a chance, take a few minutes to call and talk to Council members Baisa (270-7939), Pontanilla (270-5501) and Molina (270-5507) before Friday.  Thank them for their yes vote and urge them to do so again.

Also let Victorino (270-7760), Mateo (270-7678), Kaho’ohalahala (270-7768), Johnson (270-5504), Nishiki (270-7108, and Medeiros (270-7246) know we are behind them and to keep the bill strong — no compromises.

The enforcement issue is one that can be resolved.  There are no excuses for this not to pass.  No changes between the last reading and this one will mean it is straight up, easy vote.  Keep it simple and sweet.  Let’s see a 9-0 vote again!

Testimony can be sent in by email (county.clerk@mauicounty.us) or come and join us in person.  If you can’t make it to the hearing, keep support for the kalo in your sights this week.  If you don’t want to speak – bring a kalo plant to show support.  Stay focused on what is important – protecting Hāloa.

Keep envisioning this bill passed without changes – for all kalo and effective immediately!

From us guys at KAHEA: Mahalo pumehana to the Maui community for all their good, hard work and their passion and care for Hāloa. There is no question that you are making a tremendous difference. We urge all who are about Hawai’i and who love their poi (!) to show their support by sending in testimony to the hearing on Friday! Please take a second also to forward this alert to friends and ‘ohana!

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From Alana:

For the past few weeks there have been numerous articles, editorials, and letters to editors in several local newspapers regarding open ocean aquaculture. A recent editorial in the Honolulu Advertiser states that 

the large size and experimental nature of the [Hawaii Oceanic Tech] project demands that state regulators, and the public, keep a critical eye on the project as it moves forward.

The article goes on to say that the objective of this project is an organic, ecologically sustainable fish. 

PROBLEM #1: Organic. The problem with this is that there are no organic standards for fish farming. It would also be especially hard to develop one for open ocean aquaculture, because the cages are not closed systems. Anything that is in the water will wind up in the bodies of the fish.

Hawaii Oceanic Tech also hopes to use “organic feed” for their fish. The main ingredient in HOTIs feed will be “sardines from sustainable fish stocks”. But, this goes back to what I said above: there are no organic standards for fish, so any claims of their feed being so are false.

PROBLEM #2: Ecologically Sustainable. This is a tricky one, just because it is so undefined. What is ecologically sustainable? Everything humanity does will impact the environment in some way. Perhaps ecologically sustainable means there is a balance of pros and cons for the environment. But what are the pros in this situation? Proponents of aquaculture say that farming fish gives wild populations a chance to repopulate, but this is easily proven wrong by the environmental havoc  that fish farming has caused in British Columbia and other places where fish farms are popular. Many Canadians are embarrassed that their government has let the caged farming industry expand because of its serious impacts. 

More information about ocean fish farming’s impact on wild stocks can be found here: Science Daily: Ocean Fish Farming Harms Wild Fish, Study Says (Neil Frazer-UH)

Keep your eyes open for more aquaculture in the news in the coming weeks.

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From Alana:

Entitled Aquaculture in Hawaii: Economic Advantage or Source of Sustainability, the Hawaii Venture Capitalist Association’s recent meeting addressed the benefits of many types of aquaculture in Hawaii. I think the presentation did a good job of explaining how aquaculture could be in Hawaii, in its most ideal form.

One of the first things mentioned was that aquaculture could help restore wild fish populations that are headed towards extinction. They failed to address, however, how that would happen. It is accepted in the scientific community that fish raised in fish farms are much less fit to live in the wild. Another weak point in the presentation was explaining how the current and future open ocean aquaculture ventures would increase self-sufficiency in Hawaii by reducing imports. Up to 90% of the future ventures’ fish would be exported, while the 10% allotted for Hawaii would go to restaurants like Alan Wong’s and Mariposa, restaurants that most people here can’t afford to go to on a regular basis.

There were also two slides that were completely skipped, clearly regarding genetics. I understand that this may have been due to time constraints, but the public deserves to know not only about possible economic gains from aquaculture, but also the genetic and environmental consequences of it.

A good way to sum up the outlook of the meeting is with the quote

“If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing badly”

this quote was used during the presentation, but who is to say what is worth doing and what isn’t? Is anything worth doing badly anymore? A  commenter on one of m previous posts claimed that “fish poop” produced from aquaculture can curb the effects of climate change by absorbing the CO2 from the atmosphere, and adding it to the ocean. However, as my previous “ocean acidification” post details, an increase nutrient-rich fish effluent leads to the acidification of the ocean, thereby further risking the health of many ecosystems.

Once again, I urge everyone to learn more about what is going on in terms of aquaculture in Hawaii.

Here are some links to more info on open ocean aquaculture. It is our responsibility to find out as much as we can while we can.

Food and Water Watch: Fish Farms

Kona Blue Fish Farm

Hawaii Oceanic Technology, Inc

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From Alana:

A bill to prohibit genetically engineered taro is still being debated on Maui. Counselors are unable to decide whether to let the bill pass or not and say they want more information. The bill would prohibit “any person to test, propagate, cultivate, raise, plant, grow, introduce, transport or release genetically engineered or recombinant DNA kalo, or taro.” Citing it as “biological pollution”, Council Member Bill Medeiros also says:

I think we need to be brave. This is not something popular to do. This is something right to do.

The bill was met with some opposition, though, by the Department of Environmental Management Director Cheryl Okuma, who basically says that it’s too much effort to enforce the ban.

Laziness from the Dept. of Environmental Management should not deter kalo from having a secure future in Hawai’i.

Click here for the full article.

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