Do Fish Resist?

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Dinesh Joseph Wadiwel


There have been a number of scientific studies on the question of whether fish feel pain. Some have suggested that some fish indeed do feel pain and that this has significant welfare implications (2003). Others have argued that fish do not have the brain development necessary to feel pain. In terms of number of animals killed, the slaughter of sea animals for human consumption significantly exceeds that of any land animals that we use for food, and sea animal slaughter practices frequently lack any basic welfare protections. If fish can be shown to feel pain—or more importantly, if humans can agree that fish feel pain—then this would place a significant question mark over many contemporary fishing practices. 

This article substitutes the question 'Do Fish Feel Pain?' with an alternative: 'Do Fish Resist?' It explores the conceptual problems of understanding fish resistance, and the politics of epistemology that surrounds and seeks to develop a conceptual framework for understanding fish resistance to human capture by exploring the development of fishing technologies - the hook, the net and contemporary aquaculture.

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