Transgenic Salmon and the Future of Food: A critical investigation into the discursive construction of the AquAdvantage Salmon™

Authors: Maggie Siebert*, University of New Mexico
Topics: Agricultural Geography, Animal Geographies, Coastal and Marine
Keywords: Critical Aquaculture Studies, Discourse Analysis, Agriculture, Food
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Taylor, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The AquAdvantage Salmon ™, developed by AquaBounty Technologies, is the first genetically modified fish, animal, and meat approved for US consumption by the FDA (2015). Genetic engineering/modification is a prime example of US Post-WWII agriculture that evokes Fordist regimes of productivism, framed in terms of increased production, limited inputs, and unchecked progress, despite environmental harm--a commodification discourse echoed in the aquaculture practices of the “Blue Revolution”. The AA Salmon exemplifies the problematic ideology of anthropocentrism and human control over other species: normalizes productivism based in agritechnology, reifies dualistic human-nature relations of dominance and antagonistic privileging of anthropocentricism, and demonstrates a reappropriation of discursive strategies of “sustainability.” However, AquaBounty, the producer of the technology, invoke a future of fish and food production that is environmentally sustainable, morally righteous, will feed the world’s hungry and reduce food insecurity, improve global health and nutrition, save the oceans, and leave “the smallest environmental footprint” with the “world’s most sustainable salmon.”; this paper investigates the veracity of these statements. The salmon is voiceless, and largely without advocate, a species occupying no environmental or geographic home. This is one of the biggest questions of our time—how are human and non-human animal relations being constructed, questioned, or negotiated and what can be done to move away from anthropocentric, destructive ideologies of control, dominance, and aggrandizing manipulation of the environment, especially in the necessary act of food production.

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