According to PETA (a political organization named after a type of flat-bread, because its members have the collective intelligence of baked wheat) and ALF (a fuzzy space alien who leveraged his position as a TV personality to create an animal-rights group), fish are just as smart and just as able to feel pain as cats and dogs. Thus, it is cruel of us anglers to hook and catch them.


Cute and cuddly? Or, a natural-born killer? Either way, this finned critter will taste great. (Hint: chop into chunks, fry, and serve wrapped in PITA bread).

But before we cease and desist fishing, let’s consider the following:

1. Large predatorily fish need to eat lots of cute fuzzy baby fish, cuddly crabs, innocent invertebrates, and sweet little shrimp each and every day. By catching those big, mean, nasty predators, we fishermen save millions of blameless victims.

2. Fish are cannibals, and some—most—will even eat their own offspring. By catching, cooking, and eating these fish, we’re stopping a vicious cycle of cannibalism.

3. Billions of fish violate no-discharge rules several times a day, by excreting their bodily waste directly into the water. Every time you toss a fish into the cooler, you’re helping to save the environment and uphold maritime law.

4. Fish are brain-food. If we stopped catching and eating fish all of our brains would shrink, and then we’d have to join groups like PETA and ALF.

5. Fishing is the one thing that many of us humans depend on to calm our nerves and relax our over-taxed brains. Eliminate this form of recreation, and many anglers will go literally insane. We won’t be able to function at work, and economic mayhem will ensue. Bloody rampages are a distinct possibility, as is harakiri. Next comes mass hysteria, and the complete collapse of civilization as we know it.

So do the fish, the environment, and mankind a favor—clear your schedule, and go fishing.

More: Which is a better investment, fishing or therapy?

Written by: Lenny Rudow
With over two decades of experience in marine journalism, Lenny Rudow has contributed to publications including YachtWorld,, Boating Magazine, Marlin Magazine, Boating World, Saltwater Sportsman, Texas Fish & Game, and many others. Lenny is a graduate of the Westlawn School of Yacht Design, and he has won numerous BWI and OWAA writing awards.