For Immediate Release:

20 May 2020


After Aquarium’s Head Notes Sea Animals Have Brainpower and Emotions, Group Highlights Hypocrisy of Serving Fish Flesh

Cairns – Following a report in which Cairns Aquarium Director Daniel Leipnik acknowledged the brainpower and emotions of the sea animals displayed there, animal protection group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has written to the general manager of the attraction’s on-site restaurant, Dundee’s, asking it to remove fish and other sea animals from its menu.

PETA’s letter notes that fish are sensitive animals who feel pain, develop complex social bonds, have good memories, and possess cognitive abilities that can actually surpass those of dogs and some primates. “Yet,” it continues, “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.”

The group also points out the environmental damage caused by fishing, including to reefs. “Removing fish from the ocean to supply restaurants like yours is crippling the planet’s most important ecosystem,” states the letter. “[T]he Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations reports that over half the world’s fish stocks are “fully exploited”, and experts are predicting fishless oceans by 2048.”

“People understand the concept of ditching plastic straws to help marine life,” says PETA spokesperson Emily Rice. “But it’s fishing that’s doing the most damage. Every year, hundreds of thousands of tonnes of nets, lines, pots, and traps used in commercial fishing are discarded in the sea, where this ‘ghost gear’ kills countless sea animals. To claim to be a conservationist while selling or eating fish makes no sense.”

PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat” and which opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview – notes that eating the flesh of dead sea animals alongside tanks full of living ones is akin to devouring elephant burgers outside the elephant enclosure at a zoo.

PETA’s full letter to Dundee’s at the Cairns Aquarium can be found here. For more information, please visit