While the water bodies of the world are full of diverse and exciting ecosystems, be it ocean plants, or marine life, no form of aquatic life is as fascinating as the fish. Seemingly infinite in their variety, size, and appearance, fish, are some of the most amazing creatures you’ll ever meet. Outside their watery environments, we find fish served as mouth-watering dishes almost every day.
But have you ever thought if fish feel pain before it ends up on your dinner plate? Some scientists have done studies on the subject, and they have come up with a few fascinating facts.
Basic anatomy of a fish
Before we dive into the scientific findings, let’s look at the basic anatomy of a fish first to help us understand how they could react to pain:
Fish fins can be found on various parts of their body, which are used to push their way forward. Dorsal fins are on the back of the fish, while anal fins are on the underside of the fish that is near the tail.
- Internal organs
Fish have various internal organs, including intestines, livers, kidneys, and spleen.
- Skin and scales
The majority of fish have scales above their skin. This acts as protection from the external elements to internal organs.
- Swim Bladder
This is one of the unique parts of a fish. It helps to monitor the buoyancy of the fish, which enables it to float higher or lower.
Like the nostrils found on mammals, fish use their nostrils to detect odors at a distance. However, they don’t use their nostrils for breathing.
What the experts have to say?
The answer to this is yes, fish can feel pain. For some years now, scientific evidence has been building that fish are sentient animals capable of experiencing pain and suffering. It has now reached a point where leading scientists around the world acknowledge and recognize the sentience of fish.
According to one leading scientist in aquatic animal biology, fish feel pain in a way that is similar to how humans experience it. If we agree that fishes can feel pain as they are sensitive, then we have an ethical duty to treat fish humanely and to avoid activities that can cause them harm, suffering, or an injury.
Strategies to be used: there is a need for several strategies to address this issue including:
- Reducing the amount of fish caught.
- Reduce the fish suffering during capture.
- Use appropriate killing methods as soon as possible after fish have been landed.
- Prohibition of using live bait.