A sea of knowledge – The new facts about fish

You’ve probably heard somewhere that goldfish have only a three-second memory.

Like so many of the facts about fish we believe we know, it’s not true. 

What’s more, this widely accepted myth is symbolic of the many misconceptions we have about the estimated 3.5 trillion fish with whom we share the planet.

In fact, goldfish and many other fishes have good memories. But that’s not all.

It turns out fish can not only remember things; they can plan, use tools, socialize and play.

They are far more intelligent than previously thought and, more importantly, they are sentient. That is, they can experience feelings such as fear, frustration, comfort and enjoyment.

Perhaps most important of all, they can feel pain.

Yet, for centuries we have regarded fish as unintelligent, unfeeling creatures of little status and low value, except as food.

So what has changed?

In a word, science. Over the last two decades, research has led to a scientific consensus confirming that fish can feel pain and experience emotions. Study after study has shown that fish are not who we thought they were.

It’s time to face the facts about fish.

Fish are in trouble

How you can help fish

Fish sentience in the media

Read VHS’s op-ed on fish sentience, published in The Georgia Straight!