The Truth About Eating Fish

Most ex vegans, like Tim Shieff and rawvna, somehow tell us that eating fish again made them feel better. But does this truly make sense?

I mean Tim Shieff even claims, that it made him have a wet dream.

Arguably fishes are distinctly different from our own organism. They can’t speak. They don’t have hair nor fur.

And they also have a different breathing mechanism which makes them able to extract oxygen underwater (yes, fish use oxygen too!).

Because we feel the most empathy for people and species that look similar to us, it’s hard to come to grips that fishes may have similar desires than we do. But do they actually?

One of the evolutionary adaptations that arguably had a very big effect on the survival of a certain species was the development of a brain.

A brain allows us to immediately react to our surroundings with the help of the attached nervous system that spans to almost all areas of our bodies.

But apparently not the edge of the elbow, that’s why people can lick your elbow and you wouldn’t notice.

You felt that? That non-existent sensation in your left arm was probably some ninja licking your elbow.

Anyway, we have nervous systems and brains to help us survive from an evolutionary point of view. A nervous system, if we think about it, is an immediate feedback mechanism extremely important in our survival. If we touch a hot stove it takes a millisecond to take our hand away from it. That’s fascinating.

Because nerves are giving us feedbacks, it’s essentially a driving force of most of our behaviours. Eating calorie dense foods makes us feel good, because it enhanced the survival possibility of our ancestors in the past. Getting rejected feels bad because it decreased the survival possibility of our ancestors.

Rejections and eating high calorie foods are emotionless things, it’s our nervous system coupled with some hormones that create the sensation of pleasure or pain.

1. Do fish feel pain?

The answer to that question is quite logical and simple.

A nervous system including the brain is an immediate feedback mechanism for an organism. And if there are two type of stimulus, one that quote on quote feels good for us and one that quote on quote feels bad for us.

And pain is an unpleasant sensation that can range from mild, localized discomfort to agony and is created by our nervous system.

The question is not, do fish feel pain? But do fish have brains?

And indeed they do.

If we agree that the evolutionary purpose of the brain is being a feedback mechanism, then, a brain, doesn’t matter how small, will still create a sort of the sensation of pain.

Now do the fish have the same exact sensation of pain that we do? We don’t know, but it needs to be uncomfortable to some degree because it changes future behaviour.

Therefore we can conclude that fish do feel pain. Because we can likely conclude that one of the earliest adaptations of a brain was to create pain and pleasure.

Why? I thought you’d never ask my man.

Because if we define various tasks of the brain and give them a ranking on the importance of survival I’d probably give them following ranking:

  1. Sensation of pain and pleasure is probably.
  2. Socializing and group ties.
  3. Creation of hypothetical scenarios in the brain that will probably be beneficial in the future, such as dreaming or worrying.

Pain and pleasure are the fundament for number 2 and 3, because what truly makes thinking about hypothetical scenarios, dreaming or social interactions beneficial is the avoidance of pain and the seeking of pleasure.

If slamming your toe on the edge of the table would make you feel like an orgasm, do you think there is something that would prevent you from doing that?

Pain is the feedback mechanism of our body and the sole fundament of movement. We can logically conclude that yes, fish feel pain, and yes fish suffer, doesn’t matter how small or primitive their brain might be.

Because even the function of the most primitive of brains is probably the guidance of movement by the sensation of pleasure and pain. So let’s see how we currently treat these sentient beings.

2. Is fish farming humane?

There’s no sense in asking if the farming of soybeans is humane if they soybeans don’t have a nervous system nor a brain.

Fishes have brains, so it’s in our moral and ethical interests to look at the current farming practices.

To this day, more than twenty -three thousand factory ships weighing more than 100 tons drive around the oceans of this planet. And if I’d need to describe fishing by ships in two words it’s collateral damage.

The definition of collateral damage is the infliction of an injury to something other than an intended target.

Two of the most common fish farming methods are trawling and longlining. In trawling you essentially draw a large open mounded net along the ocean that catches everything and kills everything in his path.

Longlining is drawing hooks that trail for fifty miles or more behind the ship, trapping the fish and pulling them for miles on end.

Needless to say, threatened animals like sea turtles, dolphins and even seabirds more often than not die in a net or on a line.

According to the estimate of professionals, atleast 40 percent of the total worldwide intended catch is bycatch. 40 percent.

These are 200 million pounds of quote on quote unintended dead animals a day. About 800’000 pounds since you started reading this article.

There are some fishing methods that have a bycatch rate of 10 to 1. For every pound of shrimp that gets caught in the Gulf of Mexico for example, 10 pounds of other animals needlessly die.

These are all sentient beings that get killed and then just get thrown back in the sea. This waste of life is just extremely depressing.

Contrary to your belief, these endeavours don’t get taxed or pursued, instead the US government pays out 2,3 billion to the fishing industry each year. Japan and China pay out each nearly 5 billion a year.

As outputs from wild ocean fisheries drop, fish farming or aquaculture is on the rise. In 2012 more than half the American fish that got consumed came from fish farms.

But those fish farms, contrary to some beliefs, are not the way of the future.

There are three problems of fish farms:

  1. A lack of space. Essentially, fish farms are the factory farms of the sea. What matters is cost reduction and efficiency – not necessarily health and ethics.

    Fishes get stapled so close that 27 are found in a normal bathtub size. Problems of such tight enclosing is the development of parasites, such as the sea lice. This is especially a problem in salmon farms. One solution is to kill off the parasites with concentrated chemicals, which works, but countless of animals around the fish farms die by the use of it. Funny that people worry about pesticides when they’re fishes are literally living in poision.
  2. The second issue of animal farms in general is the huge waste products they produce, the waste ends up going down to the seabed and killing the underlying animals.There’s so much waste produced that the fish farming alone of Scotland created almost double the phosphorus than the human population of 5 million of the country.
  3. The third issue is a bad conversion rate of fish production. Contrary to normal factory farm animals, most fishes that we eat are not herbivores. They’re carnivores.

    Fishes like tuna or salmon need up to 5 pounds of feed, again other fish, to put on one pound of their own flesh. Consequently millions of pounds of prey fish, such as sardines and krill, are caught each year to feed the fish that actually get eaten by us. The rest of the prey fish, by the way, is fed to farm animals.

Eating animals that are higher in the food chain is a significant issue not only for ocean life, but also for our health.

3. Is eating fish healthy?

Fish is considered to be healthy because of the Omega 3-s that they provide. These fatty acids are important for our brain health and essentially prevent brain shrinkage after we’ve reached a certain age.

But we need to ask ourselves if the benefits of omega 3-s are worth the risk of fish consumption.

While Omega 3 is beneficial for our health, we need to take a look at the whole package. If I’d drop an apple in a petrol container, I think we wouldn’t eat it even if the apple industry would be claiming that it contained antioxidants.

Just because there’s one good aspect in a food doesn’t make it consume worthy.

Most of the fish that we’re eating are animals that are higher in the food chain. And if animals are higher in the food chain, there is also a higher chance that they contain heavy metals and toxins that can harm your health.

Why? Because they’re eating other fishes that might be full of metals or toxins.

One such concern is mercury. In past times there were routine child vaccinations that contained traces of mercury. I say past times because they are not allow anymore. Yet ironically one can of tuna contains the same amount as 200 shots of those vaccines.

Fishes don’t produce fatty acids from nothing. They produce omega 3-s from the algae that they eat. Why don’t we just do the same thing? Why don’t we stop eating the apple with the petrol and just go for the apple ?

Conclusion

Fish consumption creates a variety of different problems, ranging from the systemized destruction of sentient beings, to significant health problems due to the regular heavy metal exposure of animals higher in the food chain.

It is not safe nor moral nor sane for health authorities to recommend the consumption of fish – if there are much better alternatives available.

I recommend all my clients a vegan DHA supplement derived from algae.

Because we have to realize that the whole is not better than the sum of its parts. Sometimes all we need, is just one part of the entirety.

Sources:

  • Brain size wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain_size
  • Us fishing subsidies: “Sumalia et al., “Re-Estimation of Fisheries Subsidies.”
  • Definition of pain: https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=4723
  • Albatross deaths: “Albatross Mortality and Associated Bai Loss in the Japanese Longline Fishery in the Southern Ocean,” Biological Conservation 55, no. 3 (1991).
  • Aquaculture Statistics: “Fishwatch: U.S. Seafood Facts” – http://www.fishwatch.gov
  • Methylmercury in vaccines vs tuna: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2581505/[F.J. Chaloupka et al., “Tax, Price and Cigarette Smoking: Evidence from the Tobacco Documents and Implications for Tobacco Company Marketing Strategies,” Tobacco Control 11 (2002): i62 – i72]
  • Number of ships: “The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture” (2010) – http://www.fao.org

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