Please enjoy this article from the latest issue of our magazine, PETA Global. To begin your subscription, become a PETA member today!

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Since 1980, PETA has reminded people of a simple fact: Fish can feel. Pro-fish protests and campaigns by PETA entities – from calling on aquariums to stop serving sea animals (SEA LIFE Brighton proudly displays PETA UK’s “Certified Fish-Free” certificate in its café) to warning parents, “Don’t Let Your Kids Become Hookers” – have helped wake people up to who fish really are. Memorable mascots like Gill the Fish, Frieda Fish, and even Elfish; a bevy of “mermaids”; and flailing “fish” blocking pet store aisles have spread the message that fish are individuals – not entrées or amusements. Stars are speaking out, too: Joaquin Phoenix, Indian film sensation Amala Akkineni, and Australian actor Isabelle Cornish are just a few of the celebrities who have defended fish in PETA campaigns.

Actions That Make a Splash

PETA Honorary Director Alan Cumming schooled councilmembers in Scotland on the truth behind caviar when he sent them delicious CaviArt (vegan caviar) with a letter pointing out that breeding and killing fish “for a fleeting moment of taste is unjustifiable.” PETA Australia supporters netted global media coverage for protesting the Sydney Fish Market’s Seafood Marathon while wearing blue bodypaint and fishnetting.

© Steven Walker

Let Them Go, Petco

PETA’s exposés of the betta fish trade have uncovered rampant neglect. At Petco stores around the US, dead and dying betta fish have been found floating in tiny cups of contaminated water, some left to languish with debilitating health conditions. PETA Australia secured a betta outcome for “pet” fish after persuading a shopping center in Geelong to stop sales of live animals.

Faux Fish or No Fish!

PETA “mermaids” baited Captain D’s and Long John Silver’s diners by giving away vegan fish fillets outside their restaurants to encourage them to offer vegan entrées. As more and more restaurants race to meet the growing demand for animal-free fare, PETA UK worked with popular take-away Simpsons Fish and Chips to add a vegan option. The company had originally planned to offer vegan fish and chips only for World Vegan Day (November 1) and then for the entire month of November. Now, it’s a permanent menu item, and Simpsons says that “customers love it.”

Take a Deep Dive Into Fishing’s Devastation

Netflix’s hit documentary Seaspiracy goes below the surface to reveal the widespread death and destruction caused by the commercial fishing industry:

  • Eating sea animals is not “sustainable” – commercial fishers in the Gulf of Mexico killed more animals in a single day than the largest oil spill in history, Deepwater Horizon, did in months.
  • Nearly half of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is made up of discarded fishing nets.
  • Not only is no tuna “tuna-safe” – it’s not even “dolphin-safe.” Commercial fishers in certain areas routinely slaughter dolphins, viewing them as competition.

Take Action Now

Visit PETA.org/WatchParty to find out how to host a Seaspiracy watch party. Order PETA’s free vegan starter kit (PETA.org/VSK) for recipes to make fish-friendly meals for family and friends. Encourage restaurants to switch to fishless fillets, and leave positive Yelp reviews when they do. Go to PETA.org/Betta to watch PETA’s Petco exposé and find out how you can help.