Earth is home to more than 30,000 known species of fish, which is more than all the other species of vertebrate animals combined. Fish are amazingly diverse and truly fascinating. Did you know, for example, that fish are fast learners with long-term memories and a keen sense of time? They recognize other individuals, can keep track of complex social relationships, and work cooperatively with other species. Fish are inquisitive, perceptive, and personable.
Sadly, fish are the most misrepresented and misperceived animals. For example, the absurd but common notion that fish have “a three-second memory” should be blown out of the water by the fact that migrating fishes, such as salmon, remember their way home years later and from thousands of miles away. Others, including goldfish, can learn and remember skills. One is even noted for it in the Guinness Book of World Records!
Also contrary to popular myth, fish can suffer fear and pain, as has been scientifically shown. Far more fish are exploited than any other category of animals, and they are subjected to the worst abuses. Yet, fish have the least legal protection and receive the least concern for their well-being, even from the animal protection community.
Globally, an estimated one to three trillion wild-caught fishes and 37-120 billion farmed fishes are killed commercially for food each year. Hundreds of millions more are killed for “sport” each year in the U.S. alone. Fishes are also increasingly replacing other animals for scientific experimentation. Approximately one-quarter of all the animals used for research and education in North America are fish. Additionally, some 1.5 billion are used for aquariums.
Fish Feel is the first organization devoted to promoting the recognition of fish as sentient beings deserving of respect and compassion. Fish Feel primarily serves to help educate the public as to why these animals are deserving of our admiration and appreciation, the immense problems caused by the exploitation of them, and how we can help them.
The Wondrous World of Aquatic Animals
Music: ‘Nuturing the Spark’ by Bobby Cole; Jamendo Licensing.
Fish Feel has created “An Underwater Friend,” a book to help children (and adults!) realize that fishing is cruel, and that we should have compassion and respect for fishes and for all animals.
For centuries, a common belief has been the Cartesian claim that nonhuman animal species were incapable of suffering pain. Thankfully, that fallacy is now rejected nearly universally in regard to mammalian and avian species. Tragically, the ignorance largely continues in regard to fish. While many people intuitively and/or intellectually realize that fish can suffer pain, society at large still views and treats fish as insentient beings.