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Hooked Fish

Fish look so different from us, many people don’t realize that they feel pain—but they do! And being hooked hurts. Fish have very sensitive mouths, so it hurts badly when they are caught on hooks. And just like you can’t breathe for very long under water, fish can’t breathe when they’re out of water. So when a fisher pulls them out of their watery homes, they start to slowly suffocate and die.

Even if fish are thrown back into the water, they can die from the injuries that hooks cause.

Fishing is no fun for fish!

Here are some fun things you can do to help your animal friends.

Organize a clean-up day with your friends around local fishing spots. The number one cause of injuries and death to birds and other animals who live near the water is "fishing litter," like hooks, fishing line, nets, and string. When animals come to the water for a drink, they get tangled and sometimes strangled in fishing litter. Grab your friends and head for a creek, lake, beach, or pond, and help out the animals whose lives count on that water by cleaning up.

Put up signs at local fishing spots reading, "Please do not leave fishing line here."

If someone asks you to go fishing, explain why you won’t go. Tell them that fish have feelings and deserve to live just like anyone else. Suggest some of these activities instead: Frisbee, kite-flying, basketball, snorkeling, in-line skating, riding your bike, or bird watching. There are lots of ways to have fun outside without hurting your animal friends!

Create a "fish-friendly" display for your local library. Include pictures of fish, useful facts, and information on why people shouldn’t fish.

Write a story from the perspective of a fish. Tell how things look from the fish’s point of view. What things are important to the fish? What is he or she thinking?

If your school fair has contests that give free goldfish as prizes, organize a group of students to complain to the principal. Explain that a frightened, lonely goldfish is no prize, and suggest stuffed animal toys or other non-animal prizes instead.

Thanks, but No Tanks!
A Guide to Caring for Companion Fish

Don’t buy tropical fish! Fish belong in open waters, and they are frustrated and unhappy when kept in tanks.

Send PETA your old unwanted fishing gear for use in educational displays and anti-fishing demonstrations.

Let the world know how you feel about fishing. Order PETA’s "Fishing Hurts" stickers for your locker, your notebook, your skateboard, or your bike.

If your town is holding a fishing tournament or other fishing event, hold a demonstration—it’s easy, and it only takes a few people. Make some signs with slogans like "Hooks Hurt" and "Fishing Is No Fun for Fish" and stand outside the event. Pass out leaflets (order them from PETA) and tell people the fish’s side of the story.

Fish are amazing animals! Check out these cool facts:

Fish never close their eyes.

Some fish hide their babies in their mouths. At the first sign of danger, they’ll open their mouths and let their babies swim inside!

Remoras, or "suckerfish," hitch rides with sharks and other large sea animals by attaching the sucking disk on top of their heads to the shark's underside.

Fish use their mouths for many things that people do with their hands: collecting food, building homes, and taking care of their babies.

Some father fish carry the eggs that contain their babies in their mouths until they hatch!

If a porcupinefish is confronted by danger, he or she will gulp water and inflate up to 2 feet, and sharp needles will pop out to frighten off predators.

California halibuts are camouflaged to match the color of the sand on the bottom of the ocean. When they’re young, the halibuts have one eye on each side of their head, but as they grow older, one of the eyes moves toward the other, until both eyes are on the same side!

Spotted boxfish release a poisonous mucus when they are captured by other fish, causing predators to spit them out because of the bad taste!

Swordfish can swim more than 40 miles an hour.

Fish have taste buds on their lips, tongues, and all over their mouths. Some fish have whiskers that can taste, too. Some fish can taste their food before it even reaches their mouths!

Fish who want to be cleaned swim to cleaning stations, where they wait in line for special "cleaner fish" to do their job. The small cleaner fish remove and eat parasites and other material from the larger fish’s skin. The larger fish will also let the cleaner fish swim into their mouths and eat food particles stuck in their teeth.

Fish have been around for more than 480 million years.

Hagfish can tie themselves in knots!

Fish have very sharp vision. They can also smell, touch, feel, and taste, just like us. Plus, they can sense light, chemicals, vibrations, and electricity.

Some fish, like the "electric" fish of Africa and South America, communicate by transmitting electrical signals.



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