The US Food and Drug Administration is expected to approve AquAdvantage Salmon as the first genetically modified animal for human consumption. The genetic modifications allow the proprietary fish to grow at a rate twice as fast as a wild salmon, leading to greater ‘efficiency’ in terms of reduced costs and reduced time to market. This article provides an analysis of the ways in which AquAdvantage Salmon exemplifies capitalist market forces controlling and guiding the terms of salmon recovery and conservation. The authors trace historical developments within the salmon industry to demonstrate how capitalist commodity production has impacted fishing communities. They reject the oft-cited ‘tragedy of the commons’ hypothesis offered to explain fisheries crises. In its place, they offer the conceptual framework of the ‘tragedy of the commodity’ to explore how capitalist market forces and complicit state regulations amplify rather than resolve global environmental problems.