San Diego

Fish Feel Pain, Now What? Local Fishermen Weigh In

After years of debate, scientists agree that fish suffer in a way that is similar to other animals

Do fish feel pain? It's a question that has been on the minds of fishermen and researchers for decades. 

“For years they said that they didn’t feel pain,” said David Haworth, a commercial fisherman in San Diego. “They’ve been saying that for as long as I’ve been fishing. But common sense would say yes, they feel something.”

In a report by the Washington Post it was revealed scientists have come to the consensus that fish do indeed suffer. 

Through countless experiments, researchers have been able to determine that fish brain activity during injury is comparable to land animals. 

But what does it mean for the fishing industry in San Diego and as a whole? 

In San Diego, Haworth said most fishermen try to kill tuna and other types of fish in the quickest and most humane way possible. 

“We bring in the fish and we bring it aboard and instantly spike it in the head to kill it," said Haworth. 

But the Washington Post suggests that this new collective understanding might call for the U.S. Government to amend the Animal Welfare Act, which excludes fish. 

“United States fishermen are under the heaviest regulations of anyone in the world," added Haworth. "My boats have observers on them, transponders so they know where we are at all times. We do our best when we catch a fish to keep it the freshest and kill it properly.” 

Will this new evidence change the way you consume fish? 

Contact Us