Fish Deaths Prompt Appeal to State Officials

PETA Calls On Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Not to Restock Minsi Lake With Fish

For Immediate Release:
June 7, 2017

Contact:
Sophia Charchuk 202-483-7382

Allentown, Pa. – In the wake of reports that hundreds of fish were hooked and suffocated by anglers, relocated to be used for catch-and-release fishing, and killed in the salvage effort this week as Minsi Lake was drained, PETA sent Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission officials a letter this morning urging them not to perpetuate the cycle of suffering by restocking the lake with more fish when it reopens.

“With all that we know these days about their intelligence and sensitivity to pain, it’s inescapably cruel to keep filling the lake with fish solely so that they can be killed one way or the other,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA is calling on Pennsylvania officials to forgo restocking Minsi Lake with live fish and, instead, promote nonviolent activities—including picnicking, hiking, and boating—at the lake.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—points out that fish are intelligent animals who form complex social relationships and “talk” to one another underwater. They can count and tell time, can retain memories, and have unique personalities. Fish are also capable of feeling fear and pain, especially when chased down, hooked through their sensitive mouths—which are replete with nerve endings—and yanked out of the water to be slowly suffocated or beaten to death.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

PETA’s letter to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission follows.

June 7, 2017

Jason Detar

Chief

Division of Fisheries Management

Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission

Dear Mr. Detar,

I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our more than 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide, including many across Pennsylvania, in response to reports that, recently, hundreds of fish were hooked and suffocated by anglers, relocated to be used for catch-and-release fishing, and killed in the salvage effort this week as Minsi Lake was drained. I urge you not to restock the lake with more live fish when it reopens.

Although humans don’t like to think about it, fish are sentient beings. They’re intelligent animals who form complex social relationships and “talk” to one another underwater. They can count and tell time, they’re fast learners and can retain memories, they think ahead, they have unique personalities, they can recognize human faces, and they may even have a sense of humor. They’re also capable of feeling fear and pain, especially when chased down, hooked through their sensitive mouths—which are alive with nerve endings—and yanked out of the water to be slowly suffocated or beaten to death. Please, once the lake reopens, won’t you consider promoting activities such as picnicking, hiking, and boating, instead of restocking the water with more live animals for the sole purpose of providing people with the opportunity to engage in such insensitive acts?

Angling doesn’t hurt just fish. Every year, anglers leave behind a trail of victims that includes millions of birds, turtles, and other animals who suffer debilitating injuries after swallowing fish hooks or becoming entangled in fishing line. Wildlife rehabilitators say that discarded fishing tackle is one of the greatest threats to aquatic animals.

Given all that we know about fish sentience and their ability to feel pain, fishing can no longer be considered a benign pastime. There are already many intriguing attractions that enhance visitors’ experiences at Minsi Lake, so I hope you’ll not simply acquire new live animals for visitors to kill. Thank you for your consideration.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid E. Newkirk

President

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind