Fishing is a popular pastime and ‘sport’. It is also a multi-billion dollar industry in Australia that is decimating species such as Orange Roughy, and creating a new aquaculture industry – that is, factory farmed fish.
There is a popular misconception that fishing is okay because fish can’t feel pain. This has been disproven in multiple studies. If you were to treat a cat or dog the way fish are treated, threading hooks through their flesh and letting them suffocate to death, you would be prosecuted for animal cruelty.
Beyond the compassion issue, over-fishing and fish farms are causing widespread environmental damage. There needs to be a serious paradigm shift about how much fish is consumed, the suffering fish experience and the destruction this industry is responsible for.
- bycatch, which is the unwanted fish and crustaceans who are caught accidentally when fishing for a particular species.
- discards, who are those fish thrown back into the ocean after being caught, and who are generally thought to not survive.
- bottom trawling, the act of sweeping giant nets across the ocean floor to catch everything in their path, leaving behind massive ecosystem destruction.
- the introduction of antibiotics, which are fed to farmed fish, into natural ecosystems.
- lack of sustainability – for example several kilograms of wild fish are required to produce one kilogram of farmed salmon.
- genetic modification, when farmed fish escape into natural marine environment and interbreed with wild fish.
- wild fish are processed and used to feed farmed fish, depleting wild fish stock and contributing to marine ecosystem collapse.
- fish are not a natural food for animals such as pigs and chickens. The effects of this unnatural diet on the animals and the humans who eat them are not yet known.
- fishmeal is fed to a range of farmed fish, regardless of whether it is a natural food source for that farmed fish or not.
Animal Liberation would like to see blood sport and blood ‘leisure’ activities like fishing banned. The public needs to be aware that fish feel pain similar to other animals. Animal Liberation calls for an end to all recreational, industrial, and intensive fishing.