I remember being in France one summer years ago. I wandered down to a dock in the little village where I was staying. Two gnarled fishermen were sitting on faded canvas and wooden chairs – smoking and watching the day. They had a big bucket between them. A wooden mallet lay on the dock. It seemed like a slow fish day. I sat down on the dock with a book to wile away some time.
All of a sudden there was great drama – one man tugged on his fishing pole. He had a catch. He reeled in the line and landed the fish. It was probably a foot long – it was sleek, silvery grey with a pale rose tinge around its gills. It was shimmering with water droplets. He took out the hook – threw the fish on the dock – then baited his line and threw it back into the water. He ignored the fish. It flopped helplessly on the wooden planks – it’s mouth working desperately. I asked the man in broken French why he didn’t kill it with the mallet. He just laughed. Then I asked him to please kill it. He laughed harder and said – “He’s just a fish – he doesn’t care”. I watched the fish die – I’ve never forgotten him. To this day I wish I’d had the courage to thrown him back into the lake.
Recent scientific discoveries have proven that fish do feel pain. A fish has a brain – a nervous system and a heart – a face and eyes. It makes sense that it would feel pain and fear. Perhaps not on the level that a human might – but does that matter?
How could this not be painful on some level?
Fish are another commodity – a profit centre – a source of food for humankind. This is just one more consideration when delving into the very compelx world of creature related issues, their lack of rights and their use and abuse by people.
Other huge issues are facing fish stocks and the fishing industry all over the world today!
Loss of habitat.
Cod are in trouble.
Tuna are in trouble.
The effects of underwater drilling.
Wild salmon numbers are decreasing.
Dwindling reproductive numbers.
Ocean, sea, lake and river pollution.
Fish with toxic levels of mercury in their bodies.
The affects of global warming on fish environments.
Some fish are being moved to the endangered lists world wide.
Massive drift and gill nest that catch and kill dolphins, sharks and small whales.
The creation of “Frankenfish” that may threaten the stocks of wild Atlantic and Pacific salmon.
Clearly the fishing industry is just another big business that has work to do on so many levels – their methodology, the effects on the environment of their fishing practices and their public image world wide.