Bigger prawns, a better future for Hawaii

I recently read an article that discussed how CSIRO researchers have produced the world’s first prawn gene map. The genetic linkage map is anticipated to be used to identify genes for growth rate and to estimate the heritability of the trait. This could increase farmed prawn production by about 10% because of the shorter length of time it’ll take them to reach market size. The gene map is the first for crustacean species and may also serve to improve traits such as resistance toward disease and improved flesh quality. CSIRO is also planning to collaborate with scientists from the Australian Institute of Marine Science to produce an International genetic linkage map for the black tiger prawn.

Many people believe that GMOs are bad and that anything modified in this manner is not safe for consumption, however GMOs are not harmful to humans or other organisms that ingest them. We are controlling evolution in an enclosed population to better the quality of the foods we eat. The main concern with GMOs is that these organisms could potentially breed with unmodified, wild organisms, which could cause a major collapse in the marine ecosystem. However, there are ways to control this such as making all GMOs sterile and farming them in places where there is no chance of them escaping into wild habitats. From what I’ve learned about GMOs is that it could do much better, than harm. Additionally, if you think about it all the agriculture meats we eat have been modified, however it has taken hundreds of years of selective breeding.

These genetically modified prawns could be farmed in Hawaii and reduce the cost of production and increase revenue for many of the famous shrimp/prawn trucks on Hawaii’s North Shore.

Hawaii imports about 85% of all it’s food and only has a supply that would last about 7 days in the event of a natural disaster or other catastrophe. Many farms and businesses are encouraging Hawaii’s residences to live sustainably. This may include buying locally grown foods, or even installing a hydroponics/aquaponics system in your backyard. They can be made relatively cheap, consume less space than a regular garden and require less tending to. Aquaponics is great because it reduces water costs and allows you to utilize the nutrients that marine organism excrete to fertilize crops(much like the use of fertilizers/manuer for agriculture). Now days there are even companies in Hawaii that will allow you to add on different types of sustainable amenities when buying a new home and will also show you how to care for it.

These genetically modified organisms could appear in aquaponic/aquaculture systems within the next decade or so and provide families in Hawaii with a renewable food source and help Hawaii in becoming more self sustainable.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/01/980105053107.htm

-Sarah Mizokawa

 

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