Dr. Sylvia Earle wants you to stop eating fish. It's not because fish are endangered1, though wild fish stocks2 in many oceans are very low. It's not because they're bad for you, though fish in many areas are exposed to poisonous substances3 in the water. It’s because they're smart.
"Fish are sensitive4, they have personalities5," says the marine1 biologist. For Earle, eating a fish would be like eating a dog or a cat. "I would never eat anyone I know personally6."
There's a lot more to fish than meets the eye: they talk to each other, they like to be touched, and they engage in7 behavior8 that can seem very human. They can remember things and learn from experience. Earle and a growing number of animal rights activists9 see these as strong arguments against eating fish altogether.
The activists2 also point out that fish feel pain and fish suffer horribly on their way from the sea to the supermarket. "While it may seem obvious10 that fish are able to feel pain, like every other animal, some people think of fish as swimming vegetables," says Dr. Lynne Sneddon. "Really, it's kind of a moral question. Is the enjoyment3 you get from fishing (or eating fish) more important than the pain of the fish?"
Fishermen and (fried) fish lovers are skeptical11. "I've never seen a smart fish," says Marie Swaringen as she finishes off a plate of fish at a Seattle seafood4 restaurant. "If they were very smart, they wouldn't get caught."
"For years, everyone's been telling us to eat fish because it's so good for us," says another diner. "Now I've got to feel guilty12 while I'm eating my fish? What are they going to think of next? Don't eat salad because cucumbers have feelings?"
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