Fishes and other Sea Animals Articles from All-Creatures.org




Testimony of a Former Angler

Shared from Rudolph van Wyk's Facebook posting
February 2024

I have always loved the ocean and my fascination and love for its inhabitants doubled since I stopped treating them like disposable toys. Replacing fishing with snorkeling has been a wonderful life change. Swimming next to sea animals is much better than fishing.

no fishing sign

I stopped fishing after a meeting outside Perth that made me realise I was an 'asshole'...

The fish at the end of my line were unsuccessfully trying to escape for their lives when I pulled them out of the water. Choked and frightened they fought as I took my time to remove angles (sometimes even standing on the fish to hold them still), to prepare other lines and to find my camera because it was so important to get a photo.

I knew the animal in my hands could only breathe underwater, but I wanted to show my friends what I had done.

Often the hooks do not stick back as we want to say, sometimes they are stuck, sometimes they are down the throat. But it was okay, the point was to put the fish back in the water, dead or alive.

Come on, those in voila.

Relax is when you feel like a real nice guy. Like we just did them a favor. Sometimes when I threw them in the water I watched them hit a rock on the way down. But I kept getting a bigger one.

I did it for 10 years... Until today when I held one of the most beautiful fish I've ever seen. He was arguing, choking and I almost ripped his bottom lip out. Fish have no arms or legs. All they have are their lips and mouths which enable them to gather food, build nests and protect their little ones. Damaging these parts could be deadly for them, even if they are freed quickly.

It was then I suddenly realized I ruined this fish's life. I used to be a asshole. So sorry, but at the same time I will always be grateful to him for helping me make the connection.

It should have been clear to me, seeing the struggle and panic I have seen many times, that the fish felt the pain, like all animals. I have since learned that they are actually pretty smart. They can recognize the loss of their companions, communicate and grieve. Some can even use objects as tools, while others make sand art to attract companions.

And weíve all heard the health of our oceans is at stake. Iím in a good position to know this. Scientists say if we continue to kill marine animals at the rate weíre doing now, by 2050 we will have an ocean without any trace of life. I am glad I am no longer part of their destruction.

I have always loved the ocean and my fascination and love for its inhabitants doubled since I stopped treating them like disposable toys. Replacing fishing with snorkeling has been a wonderful life change. Swimming next to sea animals is much better than fishing.

Iím in the weird situation right now that I have fishing knowledge but donít want to share it and all this equipment and donít wanna sell it. To me this will be a bit like selling a knife to a child. Think about the lives and habitats you are going to destroy before you throw a line this summer.


Return to Fishes and Other Sea Animals Articles
Read more at Sentience Articles