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The Silent Suffering of Fish Caused by Trawling

August 7, 2018 Updated: June 30, 2022
Food,Seafood,Ingredient,Staple food,Cuisine,Fish,Dish

Animal Equality Italy has released shocking footage taken off the coast of Sardinia showing the suffering fish endure as a result of intensive trawling in our seas.

The video taken by an undercover investigator revealed:

  • Nets that capture hundreds of thousands of fish, regardless of species
  • Fish with internal organs protruding from the mouth due to the pressure jolt
  • Species that are considered unsaleable but are stored before being thrown back into the sea
  • Waste and furniture caught in nets by the sea and tossed back into the water
  • Small sharks, eels and fish of all kinds in agony due to lack of oxygen
  • A worker who inserts a hook into an eel who is left to bleed to death
  • Workers ripping off body parts and beheading the animals while still conscious
  • Fish placed in cold storage and left to freeze to death
  • Small sharks, fish and a lobster looking desperately for an escape

Every year, billions of fish are captured from the ocean. These defenseless animals who are ripped from their home wriggle in agony as they struggle to stay alive. In addition, trawling nets damage the ocean floor and capture unintended animals in the process.

The difference in pressure these fish experience when they are torn from the marine environment creates unimaginable pain. The lower atmospheric pressure these sensitive animals are subjected to causes a displacement of their internal organs. This torture often lasts a long time and only ends in violent death or frostbite.

“All these practices highlight two very important elements that we should focus on in the future: environmental sustainability and animal suffering,” said Matteo Cupi, Executive Director of Animal Equality Italy.

He added: “We cannot ignore all this because our seas are suffering greatly from these often uncontrolled practices, not to mention that the scientific literature has now shown that fish share characteristics that we normally only attribute to land animals, such as sensitivity to pain and to negative stimuli and suffering under stress. We hope that more and more people will realize what it really means to consume so much fish, and we will work in the future more and more to highlight all the contradictions of this industry.”

According to the the FAO, the oceans are being depleted at an alarming rate, much faster than what has been reported by the UN. And a study published in the journal Science says the oceans could be completely devoid of fish by 2048.

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