The Story of Frankenfish | South Carolina Aquarium

The Story of Frankenfish

Sep 28

The Story of Frankenfish

October is almost here, folks, and we have so much to celebrate: cooler temperatures, the changing of the seasons, Halloween and last but not least, National Seafood Month (wahoo!).

As we enter this month-long celebration of seafood, we want to draw your attention to some things you can do to meaningfully and sustainably participate in this 31-day seafood soirée.

But first, a scary story – Halloween is upon us, after all:

Back in 2004, an American horror film called Frankenfish” was released, haunting audiences about genetically engineered fish in the bayou. The movie received mixed reviews, but the one thing audiences agreed on was that genetically modified fish was an out-there concept. Thankfully, it wasn’t something that we had to be concerned about outside the world of theatrical drama.

Eleven years later, that changed. In 2015, the Food and Drug Administration gave the green light to the first genetically engineered animal intended for human consumption—a salmon aptly nicknamed “Frankenfish.” At the time, there were no labeling laws in place to inform consumers that they would be buying and feeding their families a genetically modified animal, which is one of the reasons we’re glad it never made it to market back then. Now, “Frankenfish” (which will be sold as “salmon”) is just a few months away from finding a place in grocery stores and restaurant menus near you.

But here’s the great thing to think about – you don’t have to worry about eating a Frankenfish (or a frankenshrimp!) when you trek down to the local docks or fish markets and choose your seafood from the fishermen themselves. Did you know that because 90% of our seafood is imported (whether it originated here or not), we lose traceability information on almost all of it? That’s why this idea, and this goal, of seafood traveling straight from the dock to your dish (and always asking WHERE your seafood came from when out and about) keeps your consumption from becoming a scary story.

As we transition from summer to fall, and all the wonderment of National Seafood Month, we encourage you to apply both a meaningful and sustainable lens to your seafood consumption:

Eat at Good Catch partner restaurants! They have made a commitment to prioritize sustainable seafood that was caught from our local waters.
Ask before you order! Don’t shy away from asking questions about what you’re eating.
Choose local. By choosing seafood that has been caught between North Carolina and the eastern coast of Florida, you are reducing your carbon footprint while also prioritizing shorter and more transparent supply chains.
Try something new! There is a wide diversity of species in our local waters that are delicious. By honoring the diversity of species that come up in a fisherman’s net, we are truly eating in support of what the environment is offering!

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