Giant genetically engineered trout nets controversial world record
48-pound rainbow trout was caught at a lake where genetically engineered trout escaped from a fish farm nine years ago.
Thu, Sep 17, 2009 at 05:27 PM
Sean Konrad’s 48-pound rainbow trout was quite a catch, but does it really count as a world record if it was genetically engineered to grow so large? That’s what many people are asking after the Saskatchewan fisherman hauled in the gigantic fish, besting the previous world record held by his twin brother with a 43-pound trout from the same lake.
Enormous as Konrad’s catch was, there are likely more where that came from in Lake Diefenbaker. Nine years ago, genetically engineered fish escaped from a net in the lake, part of an aquaculture operation called CanGro.
These fish were genetically manipulated to grow to outrageous sizes and fed regularly, so naturally they far outweigh the rest of the trout in the lake, which average 2-5 pounds. They’re sterile, so that all of their energy can go into eating and growing rather than breeding.
"Adam had been joking with me earlier, 'You know, man, we have to get you a 40-pounder in the books,' because I hadn't gotten one yet," Sean Konrad told ESPN.
"Adam already had the 43-pounder. He caught a 41.2 that holds the 20-pound line class, and a 40.1 that holds the 12-pound record. I kept telling him 'I know, I know, it'll happen. I'll get one.' Well, I got one."
At websites like TroutUnderground.com, fishing enthusiasts are engaged in contentious debates over the legitimacy of Konrad’s world record, with one commenter calling the catch “the Barry Bonds of the piscatorial world.” Another compared it to shooting farm-raised deer in a fenced pen.
However, one contributor to the debate opines that the line between 'natural' and 'unnatural' is dissolving.
“There are people feeding fish world wide, creating behaviors that are not ‘natural’,” wrote a commenter identifying himself as 'Josh'. “Heck, even fishing for fish creates behaviors that are not ‘natural’. Was this genetically engineered? Sure, but was it caught legally? Yes.”