Here’s What You’re Missing When You Say, “I Only Eat Fish”

Fish Are Smart and Feel Pain

Scientists around the world have demonstrated that fish not only feel pain but are aware of it and capable of suffering. Fish are even able to feel pleasure in ways similar to dogs, cats, and other animals.

Just last year, Vox.com detailed a multitude of fish abilities, including their abilities to "learn from each other, recognize other fish they've spent time with previously, know their place within fish social hierarchies, and remember complex spatial maps of their surroundings."

We’re Fishing the Oceans Into Extinction

By and large, the fishing industry is one of the biggest threats to these intellectually complex and feeling creatures. It is also responsible for destruction of vital aquatic ecosystems and does irreversible damage to populations of all forms of ocean life.

A startling new report from the World Wildlife Fund and the Zoological Society of London reveals that the number of fish and other aquatic animals dropped 49 percent between 1970 and 2012 primarily due to overfishing.

Fish Farming Is Cruel and Disgusting

With harrowing predictions that all the world’s fisheries will collapse by 2048, the rapidly decreasing population of wild fish is leading to an increase in fish farms where fish raised for food are forced to live in filthy, waste-filled enclosures just like chickens or pigs on factory farms.

According to a new piece by Bloomberg Business, “For the first time, the world is eating more fish from farms than from the open sea.”

In 2010, Mercy For Animals conducted an undercover investigation inside Catfish Corner, a fish slaughter facility. You can watch the investigation here.

Fish Is Loaded With Salmonella, Mercury, and Other Contaminants

Researchers have found that mercury levels in tuna are 10 million times higher than in seawater, with human activities since the Industrial Revolution to blame.

And some seafood imports are contaminated with salmonella and other microbes as a result of feeding fish a diet of feces. In fact, according to the FDA, seafood imports from China—around 27 percent of the seafood consumed by Americans—are frequently contaminated.

Fish Isn’t a Health Food

Somehow, the recommendation to “eat less meat” has translated into a message to “eat fish.” Touted for its omega-3 fats, fish is widely considered the “healthy” meat. But just like chicken and pork, fish and other seafood is loaded with saturated fat and cholesterol, and is completely devoid of fiber.

Fortunately, you don’t need to eat fish to obtain omega-3 fats. Instead, you can get them where the fish do—from plants.

Fish Aren’t the Only Ones Suffering Abuse

The Indonesian fishing industry is notorious for its blatant disregard for human and animal life. Tricked into slavery with the promise of good wages, countless men are forced to work long hours, often with very little food and unclean drinking water.

Earlier this year, the AP found that Burmese slaves might have caught some of the seafood sold at American grocery stores; the U.S. distributors receiving the seafood sell to Walmart, Kroger, Safeway, Albertson’s, and others.

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The best thing we can do to remove our support from the cruel fishing industry is to leave fish off our plates.

Check out all the amazing vegan versions of fish and other seafood, like Gardein’s fishless filet and crabless cakes, available nationwide. Click here for more compassionate sea-inspired recipes.

For more information on transitioning to a kind vegan diet, visit ChooseVeg.com.