Several celebrities and influencers from Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Thailand and Indonesia are today joining a global campaign to raise awareness about fishing. They are posting pictures of themselves holding messages about the feelings and emotions of fish and the harmful environmental impacts of industrial fishing, as well as a video produced especially for the occasion.
In these countries, the campaign is being coordinated by the international NGO Sinergia Animal, in support of the global movement called "World Day for the End of Fishing". Launched in 2017 in Switzerland by the association PEA - Pour l'Égalité Animale, WoDEF is now used by associations all around the world to raise awareness about aquatic life, among the public as well as within other animal-rights associations, calling for the abolition of fishing and fish farming. The campaign takes place every year in more than 20 countries around the world. The international movement is using the hashtag #WordDayfortheEndofFishing and #EndFishing on social media today to raise awareness globally.
The problem of fishing
The fishing industry creates many problems for marine animals and the environment. Among them, overfishing is at a level that seriously compromises life in the ocean, kills billions of animals as bycatch and is one of the major sources of plastic pollution.
According to the United Nations, the health of marine ecosystems are constantly being put at risk by overfishing as well as by illegal fishing. About two-thirds of the stock (64%) are classified as over-exploited and 23% fully exploited, meaning that fishing is taking animals from the oceans faster than they can reproduce to restore.
Bycatch figures are important too: Every year more than 100,000 whales, dolphins, seals, turtles and other marine animals are caught in lost or abandoned fishing nets, fish or lobster traps, or they are fished with the other "commercial" species.
Similarly, pollution from fishing is a big problem. An investigation conducted on the Great Pacific Garbage Island, the largest accumulation of floating garbage in the world, has revealed that 46 percent of the materials found belong to fishing nets, with the majority of the remaining garbage also consisting of other materials related to the fishing industry.
It is estimated that between 600,000-800,000 tons of lost or abandoned nets enter the ocean each year and it can take up to 600 years for their plastic composition to degrade.
Fish, sentient beings
Beyond the large-scale problems caused by industrial fishing, there is another factor to consider: fish's sentience. Recent studies have shown that fish experience moods and feel pain, can use tools, nurse their babies and have good memory.
They are pulled from the ocean by the billions each year and killed using the cruelest techniques compared to all other animals exploited for human consumption. In many cases they are left to die slowly from suffocation as they cannot breathe out of the water. Others are skinned alive or cut while still alive and fully conscious.
Our oceans and fish are suffering from the severe impact of industrial fishing. The best thing we can do for both causes is to keep fish off our plates. You can learn more about this campaign at: www.sinergiaanimalinternational.org/fishing