Dr. Sylvia Earle, one of the world's leading marine biologists, said, "I never eat anyone I know personally. I wouldn't deliberately eat a grouper any more than I'd eat a cocker spaniel. They're so good-natured, so curious. You know, fish are sensitive, they have personalities, they hurt when they're wounded."
|A recent issue of Fish and Fisheries, devoted to learning, cited more than 500 research papers on fish intelligence, proving that fish are smart, that they can use tools, and that they have impressive long-term memories and sophisticated social structures.|
Scientists are starting to learn more and more about our finned friends, and their discoveries are fascinating:
A recent issue of Fish and Fisheries, devoted to
learning, cited more than 500 research papers on fish intelligence,
proving that fish are smart, that they can use tools, and that they
have impressive long-term memories and sophisticated social
structures. The introductory chapter said that fish are "steeped in
social intelligence, pursuing Machiavellian strategies of
manipulation, punishment and reconciliation � exhibiting stable
cultural traditions and cooperating to inspect predators and catch
Culum Brown, a University of Edinburgh biologist who is studying
the evolution of cognition in fish, says, "Fish are more
intelligent than they appear. In many areas, such as memory, their
cognitive powers match or exceed those of 'higher' vertebrates,
including non-human primates." Their long-term memories help
fish keep track of complex social relationships. Their spatial
memory�"equal in all respects to any other vertebrate"�allows them
to create cognitive maps that guide them through their watery homes,
using cues such as polarized light, sounds, smells, and visual
Dr. Phil Gee, a psychologist from the University of Plymouth,
says that fish can tell what time of day it is, and he trained fish
to collect food by pressing a lever at specific times. He says
"fish have a memory span of at least three months," and they
"are probably able to adapt to changes in their circumstances, like
any other small animals and birds."
"We're now finding that [fish] are very capable of learning and
remembering, and possess a range of cognitive skills that would
surprise many people."
�Dr. Theresa Burt de Perera, Oxford University
"Australian crimson spotted rainbowfish, which learnt to escape
from a net in their tank, remembered how they did it 11 months
later. This is equivalent to a human recalling a lesson learnt 40
�Sunday Telegraph, Oct. 3, 2004
Being Hooked Hurts!
A two-year study conducted by scientists at Edinburgh University and the Roslin Institute in the United Kingdom proved what many marine biologists have been saying for years: Fish feel pain, just as all animals do. Anglers may not like to think about it, but fish suffer when they are impaled in the mouth and pulled into an environment in which they cannot breathe. Said Dr. Lynne Sneddon, who headed the recent study, "Really, it's kind of a moral question. Is your angling more important than the pain to the fish?" If you fish or know someone who does, click here to learn more.
Faux Fish or No Fish
Fish suffer horribly on the journey from sea to supermarket. Commercial fishing boats use huge nets, some stretching for miles, which swallow up everything�and everyone�in their paths. Fish come out of the nets with their skin scraped completely raw from being forced to rub up against rocks, debris�and other fish�trapped with them.
Fish flesh is frequently contaminated with mercury (which can cause brain damage) and toxic chemicals like DDT, PCBs, and dioxin (which have been linked to cancer, nervous system disorders, and fetal damage), as well as disease�causing bacteria. Why not try faux fish instead? Vegetarian products like Worthington's Tuno (available in health food stores) and mock lobster, shrimp, and crab (available online) have all the taste of the "real thing"�but none of the cruelty or contaminants.