The fishing industry

Animal Aid’s report, Dark Waters, examines the impact of eating fish on animal welfare, human health, and the environment.

The oceans are being devastated by our appetite for fish. Species that were once plentiful are on the verge of collapse, whole ecosystems are being destroyed and the scale of suffering is both huge and beyond regulatory control. Scientists have repeatedly shown that fish feel pain, as do the millions of dolphins, whales, sharks, porpoises, seabirds, turtles and other animals caught ‘accidentally’.

Fish farming methods – including genetic modification and eye stalk ablation in shrimps – also cause suffering, and aquatic animals have very little protection in law at the time of their slaughter. Killing methods are vicious – some fish are boiled alive, while others suffer asphyxiation or are bled to death without stunning. This would be completely unacceptable in any other kind of animal. Fish farming also damages wild species. Diseases and infestations on farms spread to wild populations, and huge quantities of wild fish must be caught in order to feed those who are farmed.

Fish is often promoted as a healthy food, but fish flesh can contain significant quantities of pollutants and toxins, such as PCBs, dioxins and mercury, all of which can seriously damage human health.

The only sane response to the extensive suffering and devastation caused by the fishing industry is to stop eating fish. Essential omega-3 – long used as an argument for promoting fish consumption – can also be found in plant foods, which are much less likely to be contaminated with pollutants, and which contribute to a healthier diet overall. For those who miss the taste of fish, there are many satisfying faux products now on the market . Animal Aid can provide advice and information for those wishing to eliminate fish from their diets.

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