Animal Rights Group Urges Premier to Tackle Ocean Plastics Problem Caused by Fishing
Adelaide – After the South Australian government announced a ban on some single-use plastics, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has sent a letter to the state’s premier, Steven Marshall, suggesting a tangible action that would go a long way towards reducing the amount of plastic in the ocean: not serving sea life at state government events and in the State Administration Centre staff café.
In the letter, the group notes that more than 640,000 tonnes of nets, lines, pots, and traps used in commercial fishing are discarded in oceans every year and that up to 70% (by weight) of the macroplastics floating on their surface are related to fishing.
“Contrary to popular belief, the biggest culprit when it comes to marine plastics is not plastic straws but discarded fishing gear,” writes PETA Senior Outreach and Partnerships Manager Emily Rice. “South Australia’s new policy on single-use plastics is a laudable step towards ocean conservation, but prohibiting the consumption of sea animals at government events and eateries would be even more powerful and purposeful.”
PETA notes that leaving fish in the ocean is itself an act of conservation. In 2015, researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University found that fishing removes important predatory fish from reef ecosystems, causing significant changes to the make-up of its populations. Fish-filled oceans are essential to life on Earth, yet the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations reports that 90% of commercial fish stocks are fully exploited.
PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat or abuse in any other way” and which opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview – also notes that fishing is cruel. Research confirms that fish are sensitive animals who feel pain, form complex relationships, have good memories, and possess cognitive abilities, not unlike dogs and some primates. Yet, as victims of fishing, trillions of fish each year are yanked from their homes – gasping for breath – and bludgeoned or left to suffocate before being beheaded and gutted.
PETA’s letter to the premier can be found in full here.
For more information, please visit PETA.org.au.