Do fish feel pain?

Do fish have feelings?
Do fish suffer?
Is fishing cruel?
Can fish remember?

This site presents the scientific facts.


Fish possess the capacity to feel painful events. This is a basic survival necessity. They have nerves, as we do, to detect cause pain - heat, chemicals, and pressure.

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Hooking, time out of the water, and handling, cause stress which can last a day. There is increased heart rate, unnatural behaviour, permanent tissue damage, and the fish is more likely to die.

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Many fish suffer and die, sometimes several hours later, once the culprit has left the scene. Studies have found that a third, half, or more, fish can die at a site.

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Billions of fish are caught yearly. Large profits drives lobbying. Ecological harm is hidden, with angling mostly unregulated. Populations face severe and cumulative impact.

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Fish are not the mindless automatons that they are often portrayed as. They can have complex social lives, take great care of their young, and sometime pair for life.

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Dogs, dolphins, swans, owls, mallards, herons, geese, and turtles. Hooks and line cause animals to bleed to death, suffer entanglement, internal injuries, blockages, and blinding.

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Professor Braithwaite’s, book, “Do Fish Feel Pain?”, concludes that fish feel pain, and can suffer. She said that the evidence for this is as good as any that we have for birds and mammals.

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Pain checklist

Fish fulfill the requirements to demonstrate that they feel pain. They detect pain, they act as if they are in pain, pain killers stop them acting this way, and they avoid what causes pain.

Unhooked    Do fish feel pain?