A new study highlighted in The Independent confirms what animal rights activists have been saying for years: Fish are individuals with complex personalities.
Researchers tested to see whether Trinidadian guppies all had a similar response to potential dangers. In the study, the fish were confronted with new situations or apparent predators to cause different levels of stress. Researchers then monitored their behavior and found that each fish had particular “coping mechanisms. They all proved to be individuals, with some being braver than others.
Researcher Dr. Tom Houslay of Exeter University said:
When placed into an unfamiliar environment, we found guppies have various strategies for coping with this stressful situation—many attempt to hide, others try to escape, some explore cautiously, and so on.
Just like land animals, fish are intelligent and sensitive beings. A study published on Vox.com detailed a multitude of fish abilities, including their abilities to “learn from each other, recognize other fish they’ve spent time with previously, know their place within fish social hierarchies, and remember complex spatial maps of their surroundings.” Another study published in Nature Scientific Reports found that fish look out for each other when searching for food.
Additionally, scientists worldwide have noted time and again that fish experience pain. They’re even comparable to dogs, cats, and other animals in the way they feel pleasure.
Sadly, the fishing industry treats fish as mere objects. In 2011 Mercy For Animals conducted an undercover investigation at a fish slaughter facility that exposed fish being skinned alive. As the fish gasped for oxygen, their skin was ripped off with pliers. They thrashed and fought to escape the workers’ knives.
See for yourself.