A few of us have reviewed the stocking lists for 31 lakes from Parsons to the White River and to our surprise found the Provincial government has allowed the Fisheries Society to stock predominately triploid (genetically modified) fish. Over 320,000 triploids were placed in the lakes with another 69,000 planned for this year. They are touted as sterile fish to help out our wild stocks recent research indicates differently.
Just as farmed fish escape, triploids in lakes do the same. Of the 31 lakes reviewed, 21 have outlets flowing into mainstream waters. These genetically modified fish are now able to enter our stream populations, competing for the same food and space as our wild stocks.
Growing larger more quickly they consume more food, taking away from the resident population. Present research shows wild fish are experiencing new stresses with global warming, through warmer waters and changes within their habitat. In order to adapt they need time, and where triploids have escaped into these environments, wild stocks are further stressed.
In our area two species of fish, the Westslope Cutthroat and the Bull Trout, are both blue-listed species (international endangered species rating), and a concern due to their numbers.
Ah so what, our redneck trout can hold their own! Remember we have been told that triploids are sterile fish well guess what, theyre not. The processes used to create triploids have a 98 per cent success rate, leaving 2 per cent able to breed. And no one is checking every triploid for sterility. So over the past five years 6,500 genetically modified fish capable of mating have mixed with our wild stocks, including the blue listed ones. But are more fish good?
Researchers at Purdue University in the USA have come up with startling information. While the triploiding of fish makes them larger and thus more attractive in a reproducing population, their offspring were less likely to survive. Knowing this the Purdue team, using a computer modeling program, took a 60,000 wild fish population and placed 60 triploid fish capable of breeding into the population. They found that within 40 generations both the triploid cross and wild populations went extinct.
The researchers stated in their report, A population invaded by a few genetically modified individuals would be more and more transgenic [capable of transferring a gene], and as it did the population would get smaller and smaller.
The sad point is the entire stocking program for the rest of B.C. fresh waters is the same as ours and biologists are too busy to talk! If you are alarmed and want to share your thoughts here are a couple of names: B.C. Minister of Environment: Hon. Terry Lake, email@example.com
Fisheries & Oceans Canada: Hon. Gail Shea, firstname.lastname@example.org