Why You Should Never Teach Your Kid to Fish

Imagine that you’re hanging out at home, looking for something to snack on. You see a tasty treat and pop it into your mouth. All of a sudden, you feel shooting pain as something sharp rips through your cheek.

Terrified, you struggle to free yourself, but you’re dragged out the front door and pulled underwater, where you are unable to breathe and ultimately suffocate to death.

This is what it’s like for fish who are used for food and the “sport” of fishing. Fishing is not harmless family fun. Fish are smart, interesting animals with unique personalities—and just like dogs, cats, and humans, they feel pain.


When they’re ripped from their natural habitat, fish are no longer able to breathe. Their gills often collapse, and their swim bladders can even rupture from the sudden change in pressure.


When fish are handled by people, the protective coating on their bodies is damaged. This makes them more vulnerable to predators when they’re thrown back into the water.


Sometimes, a fish ends up swallowing a hook, and anglers often try to retrieve it by shoving their fingers (or even tools, like pliers!) down the animal’s throat. This rips out part of the fish’s throat and guts along with the hook.

Studies show that many fish who are caught and thrown back into the water experience such severe psychological distress that they actually die of shock.


Fishing doesn’t hurt only fish. Millions of birds, turtles, and other animals sustain debilitating injuries after they swallow hooks or become entangled in fishing lines. Wildlife rehabilitators say that discarded fishing tackle is one of the greatest threats to aquatic animals


You wouldn’t teach your kids to abuse and kill a cat or a dog, so why show them that it’s OK to kill another animal for “fun”?

There’s no need to torture helpless animals when there are so many other wonderful outdoor activities that you can do with your kids, like camping and canoeing. Instead of teaching your kids to fish, teach them to respect all animals.

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  • Carlos commented on June 15, 2015 at 5:59 pm

    Fish feel too

  • Hana commented on June 15, 2015 at 11:01 pm

    Wow, so well written.
    Thank you for posting this. Though I will not watch the video (know what I can or can’t handle), but the words are so fitting. I am thankful that as a child, I did not grow up fishing for “fun”.

    • Raz0r commented on July 13, 2015 at 7:28 am

      fish has no feel

      • Carley Bowering commented on July 17, 2015 at 6:48 pm

        Fish don’t audibly scream when they’re impaled on hooks or grimace when the hooks are ripped from their mouths, but their behavior offers evidence of their suffering—if we are willing to look. For example, when Braithwaite and her colleagues exposed fish to irritating chemicals, the animals behaved as any of us might: They lost their appetite, their gills beat faster, and they rubbed the affected area against the side of the tank.

        Neurobiologists have long recognized that fish have nervous systems that comprehend and respond to pain. Fish (like “higher vertebrates”) have neurotransmitters such as endorphins that relieve suffering—the only reason for their nervous systems to produce these painkillers is to alleviate pain. Check out this page for more information:

  • Rose Pezzo commented on June 16, 2015 at 1:01 am

    God created everything on our earth.We are all here to care and protect every animal etc.We are all stewards of this earth.Remember you could have been born a fish,how would you want to be treated.

  • Cristina Economides commented on June 16, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    Awesome to teach by being a good model parent. Children imitate whatever we do good or bad deeds. Education is the best present for a child.

  • Angie Rhinier commented on June 17, 2015 at 3:49 pm

    Fish have feelings and should be left to live in peace!

    • Carley Bowering commented on July 23, 2015 at 3:44 pm

      It’s true! Neurobiologists have long recognized that fish have nervous systems that comprehend and respond to pain. Thanks for having such a big heart for animals. 🙂

      • Maureen Nolan commented on August 31, 2016 at 8:16 am

        This is so true, Cristina Economides. When a proper education is given it is the best present for a child.

  • Maureen Nolan commented on August 31, 2016 at 8:18 am

    This is so true, Cristina Economides. When a proper education is given to a child it is the best gift they will ever receive.

  • Naresh Lathia commented on September 1, 2016 at 9:13 am

    The Neanderthal element is very very hard to remove from the European stock. Dr Melanie Joy has defined this tendency to ignore the pain of another animal as Carnism. Asian and African countries fish for food (like other animals do). This is understandable and tolerable to an extent. Europeans do it for fun, relaxation, sport etc. This is not meant to be racist comment. Just and opinion and an observation.