For Immediate Release:
March 18, 2021
Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382
Norfolk, Va. – It’s not fishing in the traditional sense, but environmentally sound and fish-friendly “trash fishing”—inspired by a father-and-son duo who nabbed Hero to Animals awards for fishing for everything from tires to tin cans while aboard their boat on Michigan’s Detroit River. PETA has launched a new campaign encouraging anyone near a body of water—or even on dry land—to get outdoors and “catch” some litter.
PETA is partnering with local families to hold trash-fishing events in cities nationwide, including in Detroit, Denver, Los Angeles, and New York City—supplying them with eco-friendly gloves, compostable trash bags, and vegan snacks like Swedish Fish candy.
“This initiative tackles pollution in lakes, rivers, streams, and the ocean—including abandoned fishing nets and monofilament line, the most common and most harmful form of debris affecting aquatic animals,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk, who found these barbed hooks discarded on the bank of Virginia’s Elizabeth River. “PETA is inviting environmental stewards to fish for trash, not trout, and help make the planet more livable for everyone.”
Whales, turtles, and seabirds can mistake trash for food, and if eaten, it can choke them or cause fatal stomach or bowel obstructions. Birds frequently get their beaks wrapped with or wings entangled in discarded fishing lines, and hooks can be swallowed or become embedded in their skin or beaks. Some 640,000 tons of fishing “ghost gear” enters the world’s oceans every year and can harm marine animals for decades. PETA has made note of just some of these animals, including a mother whale who died trying unsuccessfully to save her baby, an entangled sea lion with a hook embedded in her neck, and an endangered turtle who was strangled to death.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—notes that traditional fishing is a cruel practice of hooking gentle animals through their sensitive mouths, watching them slowly suffocate, and sometimes even gutting them while they’re still alive. More fish are killed for food each year than all other animals combined—even though they are now known to feel pain as acutely as mammals do.