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"Daddy, tell me why they drip acid on that puppy’s lip. Also in that monkey’s eye. Tell me, Daddy, why oh why? ‘Hush, my little son, be brave – They are testing after-shave." E. S. Turner
Sea Life

DOLPHINS

Dolphins and Yellowfin Tuna often swim together, and when Tuna is being hunted, Dolphins often suffer through what is known as Purse-Seine fishing. 

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With this method, dolphins are surrounded by huge nets (easily 1km long and about 100 metres deep) as it is assumed the Tuna are below the Dolphins – entire schools of Tuna can be caught this way, effectively also trapping and catching Dolphins as collateral damage! In the 90’s, ‘dolphin friendly’ tins of tuna began to surface, and while some companies have been responsible, others found this to be a great marketing tool, even though they didn’t practice so called Dolphin friendly methods.  And while the USA defined what is Dolphin safe, it includes an annual allowable collateral damage quota of Dolphins! So the reality is there is no such thing as Dolphin friendly tuna!

Gill nets are legal and are the biggest killers of Dolphins.

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If you care about Dolphins, clearly, refusing to eat sea-life is the answer.

There is also the issue of Dolphins in captivity; Dolphins are social and intelligent beings with advanced echolocation, which means they can ‘see’ for great distances. Locking Dolphins in the water equivalent of a dark dungeon has resulted in many suicides, where they just sink and stop breathing. As Dolphins have to want to breathe, they can just switch off, unlike humans for whom breathing is an automatic function. 

As with seeing wild animals in the circus, there is no educational value to seeing Dolphins in captivity and more importantly, it is extremely stressful for them. Please reconsider visiting aquaria or other insititutions who have captive Dolpins! Sea animals belong in the sea, not in glass and water prisons! 

 

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 FISH

The most commercially abused animals on the planet, other than chickens, are fish. Most don’t consider that fish are sensitive, sentient beings and recent studies clearly indicate what many have known for a long time; fish suffer.
 
On an individual level, what would you think if someone caught a land animal with a baited hook, then reeled them in and drowned them? This is exactly what happens to fish.
 
Anyone who has ever had a fish hook stuck in their flesh knows just how painful it is, and this is no different for fish. Pain and tissue damage are intensified when double or treble hooks are used, and when the hooks are pulled out, often roughly, while fish are still alive.
   
 Many fishermen who would never consider hunting for sport, yet quite happily grab a rod and head for the waters. Fishing, quite simply, is hunting in water. Unfortunately those who genuinely believe that ‘catch and release’ fishing is acceptable often cannot, or will not, believe that a hook in the mouth causes immense suffering.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Fish feel pain and stress like mammals, including humans. They also produce the same pain-blocking substances as humans called endorphins, which block pain by stopping the release of substance P. Fish have many nerve endings in the mouth, so hooking certainly causes terrible pain and of course gaff hooks, where used to haul them out of the water, further increases this pain.

The live fish used as bait in game fishing may have lines threaded through their eyes. In game fishing marlin or swordfish, for example, are ‘played’ on the line for hours on end which causes stress and exhaustion, as well as immense pain. 
 
With regard to pain or suffering, there is no difference between warm-blooded and cold-blooded animals. Fish suffer even if they are released after capture although many are left to suffocate to death on land. This is the same as drowning for a human, and must surely be a terrifying experience.

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When it comes to pain, the suffering is the same for all animals.
(Dog to be used for live shark bait)

In many areas, such as memory, the cognitive powers of fish match or exceed those of vertebrates, including non-human primates. They do have long term memories, which help them with complex social relationships.
 
Their spatial memory allows them to be make their way through the water using cues such as polarized light, sounds, smells, and visual landmarks.
 
A recent issue of Fish and Fisheries, cited over 500 research papers on fish intelligence, all proving that fish use tools, and that they have impressive long-term memories and sophisticated social structures and yes, are intelligent, some species more so than non-human primates.
 
" Fish constitute the greatest source of confused thinking and inconsistency on earth at the moment with respect to pain. You will get people very excited about dolphins because they are mammals ... and about horses and dogs if they are not being treated properly. At the same time you will have fishing competitions on the River Murray at which thousands of people snare fish with hooks and allow them to asphyxiate on the banks, which is a fairly uncomfortable and miserable death ." (Dr B. Runciman, Professor of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, University of Adelaide, Australia)

Fish have a layer of skin and mucous over the scales. This layer is very sensitive, and is essential for the health of the fish, for example, to keep out infection.
 
Damaging a fish's slime coat has been compared to third degree burns in humans, so even if released, the fish has suffered a hook in the mouth, the stress of being handled, the pain of the hook being removed, often not too gently and the damage to the mucous layer and subsequent burning pain, and of course, the inability to breathe while in air.
 
Fishing, by all accounts causes more suffering than hunting land animals.
 
Does this sound like a harmless pastime? Something to teach our children?

CEPHALOPODS

Without exception, all cephalopods are active predators and the ability to locate and capture prey often demands some sort of reasoning power, but especially Octopi and Squid.

They display exhibit remarkable spatial learning capacity, navigational abilities, communication skills and predatory techniques.  Octopi have been known to be able to perform complex manipulations of their tentacles and be able to unscrew the lids of a jar.

Cuttlefish in particular have been said to communicate with one and other by a complex series of instructions communicated to other cuttlefish by rapid changes or flashes of body color. This form of communication is also said to be used in the squid and cuttlefish’s mating rituals.

Taken from a book by Jacques-Yves Cousteau ;

"When one thinks of how long it takes to teach a dog something as simple as sitting up or shaking hands, one must admit that an octopus learns very quickly; and that above all, it teaches itself. We did not show it what to do. With a dog, it takes months of patient work before the animal will do what one wants it to do. The difference between a dog learning and an octopus learning is the difference between training an animal and allowing an animal to exorcise its intelligence in determining the means to be used to overcome an obstacle in certain circumstances."

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Their ability to solve problems, overcome obstacles and the fact that all knowledge (of survival) is acquired for themselves, in contrast to vertebrates, where knowledge is often transmitted from generation to generation, is quite awe-inspiring.

Do these amazing and incredible earth-bound (sea-bound) aliens deserve to be caught, killed and pickled as a starter or fried and eaten? 
 
SHARKS
Research indicates that about 100 million sharks are killed each year by humans -- roughly 11,000 sharks every hour, around the clock [source:hsus]. The number of humans who die from shark attacks average 5 to 6 a year!

These numbers of shark deaths may even be on the low side, since the estimate is based only on the reported catch numbers and it is more than likely that many sharks are caught without being reported. Unfortunately, sharks have turned out to be very vulnerable to destruction, and possibly even extinction, by man. Prized for their fins, their meat, their skins, their teeth and their organs and cartilage, sharks have in recent years been so heavily over- fished that some species may never recover. 

Commercial fishing accounts for a large part of the overall number of sharks caught. Sometimes the shark is the target, but many times it's just a victim of something called bycatch, when commercial boats haul in other types of fish in addition to the species the fishermen are after. The sharks caught as bycatch are often killed or injured in the process and usually thrown overboard. By far the most destructive practice is the harvest of SHARK FINS:  Gourmets will pay a fortune for specialist dishes made from shark fin, usually obtained by the barbarous practice of "finning", where the shark's tail and fins are cut off while they are alive, then the shark is thrown back into the water to die a drawn out, agonizing death. This practice is not only cruel and wasteful, but also absolutely pointless, as the harvested fins' meat has virtually no nutritional value.

Finning has been denounced by many nations, but it nevertheless continues to be practiced due to the high profits made by the traders and commercial fishing industry.

There are other species of fish that are more heavily targeted than sharks, but they don't face the same threat of endangerment. One reason is because sharks typically reproduce only once a year, and they carry just 10 to 40 pups per pregnancy. This sets them apart from many other fish that deposit thousands of eggs at a time. The overfishing combined with the long gestation period and limited amount of young they produce has placed several species of shark on the protected list.

 
People still find it entertaining to fish for sharks. Very often the victims of this “sport” are just killed and thrown back into the sea. Even if the shark is still alive when released, they often die due to exhaustion. There are few laws and rules that regulate fishing for sharks. Shark jaws are still a popular trophy item. Small shark jaws are sold in gift stores as a cheap souvenirs. Some may be from shark species that are listed as endangered, but enforcement is not effective since it is not a major concern in comparison to other issues.
 
Needless to say - do not buy shark jaws, large or small. Remember that an animal had to die so you can hang something on your wall.
 
Shark skins can be tanned and used as an alternative to leather (for belts, boots, bags, etc. In theory and on a small scale, this could be a by-product of a sustainable and fisheries. In practice, there are few shark fisheries that can be called sustainable, even if they are licensed and permitted and claim to be sustainable, for now.
 
 
 
In the end, do we really need to wear boots and belts made from shark? It's comparable to wearing a fur coat.
 
(sources animal planet, shark allies)