Crab on sand
© Ecophoto/

Believe It: Fish Form Friendships!

Issue 2|Spring 2024

They’re Individuals with Feelings, Not Fillets

A man snorkeling in Thailand’s Chaloklum Bay came upon an unexpected sight. Two porcupinefish were near the ocean floor – one trapped in a fishing net, the other keeping vigil by their side. Fortunately, the snorkeler, a volunteer with a marine protection group, knew just what to do. Using a shard of broken glass, he carefully cut the tangled netting away from the trapped fish’s body while the other stayed put. As soon as the fish was free, the two friends swam off together.

What? Fish have friends? Yes, and they’re not the only ones. Scientists recently reported that two great white sharks named Simon and Jekyll had traveled together along the Atlantic coast for more than 4,000 miles – showing that these animals aren’t solitary, as was once thought. We’re just starting to understand who sea animals are, but one thing’s clear: They don’t belong on our plates, at the end of a hook, or in a tank.

Two fish friends

It’s Ofishal: Fish Are Swimming Smarty-Pants

Fish have excellent long-term memories, live in complex social groups, learn from other fish, and develop cultural traditions. They form emotional attachments and become depressed when they lose their partners. They can recognize themselves in photos and mirrors and use tools – like orange-dotted tuskfish, who toss clams against rocks to crack open the shells, and pearlfish, who use oyster shells as speakers to amplify the volume of their communications. Of course, fish also feel pain and suffer greatly when impaled or dragged out of their ocean homes in nets, their swim bladders bursting because of the sudden change in pressure.

PETA ad placed at a bus shelter in the UK

Curious Crustaceans Can Be Old Codgers

A robber crab on Christmas Island lived up to their name by snatching a researcher’s camera and carrying it off into a forest. A park ranger there noted that these crabs “are very inquisitive.” Research has shown that crabs are capable of learning and remembering information, just like other animals. Lobsters use complicated signals to establish social relationships and can recognize individuals. If left in peace, they can live to be more than 100 years old.

The Write Stuff

When PETA member Heather Moore read about a fishing program for people with disabilities, she dashed off a letter to the editor, and it was printed!

PETA staffer Heather Moore

“I’ve been in a wheelchair for several years because of a genetic condition. There are many things that I wish I could do in the same way as more able-bodied individuals, but harming wildlife is not one of them,” Heather wrote.

You can always weigh in, too, using PETA’s letter-writing tips.

Octopuses: Big-Brained Beings

Octopuses dream, communicate with one another, and can solve puzzles. They decorate their dens with shells and stones and have been observed wielding the poisonous tentacles of Portuguese man o’wars like swords. They can even bust out of aquariums – as did Inky, who made a break for it when someone cleaning his tank forgot to put the lid back on. Inky hustled across the floor and shimmied down a drain to freedom in the Pacific Ocean.

This provocative ad sparked a public outcry in the UK.

Making Waves, Changing Ways

Through eye-catching ads and protests, faux-fish giveaways, and more, PETA entities help people see that sea animals deserve the same consideration as every other living, feeling being. PETA UK’s ad challenged residents of Bridlington, the “lobster capital of Europe,” to think about this. Another PETA UK ad, equating eating fish to eating cats, caused such a stir that the Advertising Standards Authority received complaints calling it “excessively distressing.” PETA ran the same ad in Miami Beach, Florida, where we gave away vegan tuna outside the South Beach Seafood Festival. And in Australia, “mermaids” asked Sydney Fish Market patrons to consider who’s on their plate.

Be Part of It!

Try tasty vegan seafood – from calamari and caviar to salmon and shrimp – and treat your family and friends to it. Some brands to look for include Cavi-art and Vegan Zeastar (both available through the PETA Mall), Gardein, Good Catch, and Sophie’s Kitchen. Find a list of more fish-friendly products here.

Previous Homepage Next
Stay up to date on the latest vegan trends and get breaking animal rights news delivered straight to your inbox!

By submitting this form, you’re acknowledging that you have read and agree to our privacy policy and agree to receive e-mails from us.

Get the Latest Tips—Right in Your Inbox
We’ll e-mail you weekly with the latest in vegan recipes, fashion, and more!

By submitting this form, you’re acknowledging that you have read and agree to our privacy policy and agree to receive e-mails from us.