Nobody in New Zealand lives too far from the water, and it was a common sight when I was growing up in the 1950s to see whole families fishing from piers and from coastal rocks. I remember myself once as a young child reluctantly dangling a line from a pier, and feeling some tugs at the end of it. I do not remember bringing in any fish though I might have blocked it from my memory. It upset me to watch how the fish would flop around on the hot boards, or in the baskets or buckets they were thrown in. I intuitively knew it was wrong, and thought they were panicking, but I didn’t realise that they were asphyxiating and probably in pain until much later.
I have another early memory, from when I was staying up at the top of the North Island as a teenager. Crayfish are kai, or traditional Maori food. I still recall watching as a whole crawfish was put in a boiling tub of water. I saw its legs moving around and then couldn’t look any more, and ran from the room. When I think back on it I feel sad. The poor animal could not cry out, could not tell us his distress. Just as with the asphyxiating fish with wounds in their delicate mouths, he was suffering. I cannot recall anything else about that occasion, but it is likely that I too ate crayfish that evening. I gave up eating all flesh when I was at University, and about seven years ago when I discovered the cruelty in dairying I became vegan.
It is a wonderful thing that this organization advocates for fish, who are so misunderstood and so abused. Thank you, Fish Feel, deep respect.