Consider the Earth and Each Fish
An Animal Rights Article from


Josh Tikka, In Defense of Animals (IDA)
February 2015

Buying fish buys into the devastation of sea life. People can enjoy the omega-3 benefits they currently get by eating fish by eating flax instead.

There are upwards of 10 million species living in near-shore areas of the oceans, and many of these species are currently threatened by human activity. A new study in the journal Science entitled, “Marine defaunation: Animal loss in the global ocean”, cites overfishing as the key contributor to the decrease in sea life abundance. This loss of life can greatly alter the ocean’s ecology. “Such declines can generate waves of ecological change that travel both up and down ma­rine food webs and can alter ocean ecosystem functioning.”

This overfishing is due to the over-eating of fish by a quickly growing human population that’s already in excess of seven billion individuals, most of whom who eat fish. Eating fish is an unnecessary luxury in almost all parts of the world. Overfishing is not the only problem with fishing, in fact fishing in and of itself is extremely problematic. The commercial fishing industry in America earns billions of dollars annually. In 2005, The United States brutally killed millions of individual animals amounting to over five million tons of fish flesh, with Polluck and Salmon among the most caught fish species. This fishing is not sustainable, nor ethically justifiable.

It is simply not necessary to eat fish. While we can’t control entire industries, we do have some buying power to divest from this industry. We can choose not to buy into the destructive economy based around the exploitation and eradication of sea life. Many people are apprehensive to eat animals that come from animal farms and slaughterhouses, but fishing is no different. Consider not eating fish for the following reasons:

  1. Fish are animals with feelings. They are able to experience pain and suffering and have desires and wishes, just like anyone else. Being stabbed in the mouth with hooks or suffocated in nets by the billions globally is a human made atrocity. Fish are also highly intelligent, with intellect levels of some species comparable to dogs and cats.
  2. The environmental impact of hunting fish is astronomically detrimental for underwater ecosystems. Large fishing rigs destroy endless miles of the ocean, gathering all living beings in nets, killing everyone in their path, whether the bodies can be sold or merely thrown out as trash.
  3. The oceans are highly polluted by shipping, oil spills, and dumping. The chemicals, toxins, and waste polluting these waters do more than hurt the fish who live in them; they hurt the people who eat the fish, contributing to a variety of diseases and harmful side-effects.
  4. Eating fish is the leading cause of mercury poisoning. Mercury poisoning can lead to disruption of senses and a lack of coordination. It can also harm the brain, kidney, heart, immune system, and lungs.

Some remote island diets may currently be dependent on fish, but ours doesn’t have to be. Developed countries have a plethora of reasons not to be a part of this slaughter, enslavement, and destruction, and no legitimate reason to continue to consume the bodies of fish.

Buying fish buys into the devastation of sea life. People can enjoy the omega-3 benefits they currently get by eating fish by eating flax instead.

The health benefits of eating flax far outweigh those of eating fish because there are no negative side effects associated with the consumption of flax, and clinical studies show great benefits associated with adding it to one’s diet.

Please, save the animals of the sea, the environment, and yourself!

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