Some things are perfect left just like they are. No improvement necessary.
My Scott 3-weight 'glass rod, for instance. It's the perfect small-stream brookie-buster. PBR just out of the ice after a hot day on the water. Crunchy Cheetos. Jessica Alba.
And, of course, salmon.
Never mind the problems associated with ocean-borne net pens (thanks to this conscientious industry, we now have Atlantic salmon running up coastal streams in the Northwest and spawning alongside–or with–native Pacific salmon, and a sea lice infestation never before seen. Now we have to deal with some laboratory creation swimming alongside our irreplaceable wild salmon. Of course, in a recent article in Trout magazine, AquaBounty claims the genetically modified, hybrid freakfish likely wouldn't escape into the wild, and that, if it did, it wouldn't matter, because they're only "manufacturing" sterile females.
Only Michael Crichton could dream up a better reality.
Trouble is, if we start "solving" problems with our ocean fisheries by simply dreaming up test-tube replacements to the real thing, we'll soon lose focus on the problems themselves. And we all know that everything trickles up from the water when it comes to environmental integrity. We lose touch with the idea that wild salmon are the perfect fish and superior and preferable to farm-raised, dye-added, genetically enhanced replacements, and soon, we'll be buying into the idea of a huge gold mine in the headwaters of the Bristol Bay watershed that could trash the greatest wild salmon run on the planet. Oh ... wait.
Messing with perfection will do that to you. And here's the kicker. Trout are next on the list for AquaBounty's mad scientists, according to the Trout piece.
Already, most folks across the country who eat trout are eating farm-raised hybrids–usually some mishmash of rainbow trout subspecies bred to particular fish farms. I suppose the logic to further compromising the genetics of these fish would be to encourage faster growth rates and a quicker return on the investment for the grower.
But trout? Talk about perfection.
Evolving in some of the most austere environments on earth, and now, thanks to mankind's acute desire to tangle with these fish with a hook and line, occupants of every continent save for Antarctica, trout might be the perfect fish. To many of us, that's not even a question.
Many of us chase trout for the sheer joy of it. Others for food or for the fellowship that accompanies angling. Still others cast over trout in cold, clean waters for the unmatched pleasure of touching a life force so strong and so pure that doing so is necessary for the soul. That's perfection.
No thanks, AquaBounty. We like our wild things wild. We like our salmon left alone to migrate, to nourish. And we like our trout ... perfect.