Back to Animals index

Phillipa the Fish

Hello, my name is Phillipa and I'm a fish. This is the true story about what happened to me...

Life started for me swimming free in the the ocean with all the other fish, my mother and father always nearby. We would swim to the surface to feel the heat of the sun and then dive deep to see the sands. Every day was a new adventure and there was always something exciting happening. I had heard all the horror stories from the older fish, they told me never to trust humans, that they would hurt me and even kill me. I thought that they were just teasing me because I was young. I thought why would they hurt me when I had never hurt them? One afternoon we were swimming and diving in the sea and I noticed something in my Daddy's mouth. It was a steel hook. There was blood in the water. I didn't know what was happening. As my Dad fought to get closer to my Mum he was being pulled away against his will. We all swam closer to him and for the first time I saw terror in my father's face. We all tried to help but I saw a line pulling him from the sea and there was nothing we could do. This was the last I ever saw of him.

Later, one early morning I was playing with my friends, we were the same age - all about a year old - when suddenly a huge net descended upon them and they were swept away, their little faces terrified from the shock of it. As they were dragged so quickly from the sea I saw some of their eyes popping from their heads, it was truly terrifying and I swam away as fast as I could, my heart ringing with fear. They looked so helpless and I knew there was no hope for them. My Mum tried to comfort me but I was traumatised by what I had seen. I never felt truly safe again so I stayed near to my Mum. She swam with such grace, glistening in the water and I loved her so much. Then one terrible day I realised my worst nightmare was happening. I saw a shiny hook in my mother's mouth! She was being dragged, out of control... her graceful swimming had ceased. My poor Mum, her whole body was writhing and I knew she was in pain! The hook was tearing into her lip as she struggled to swim to me. I now knew that all those horror stories were true, first my Dad, now my Mum. I still remember her looking back at me and then to my horror a gaff hook tore into her eye as she was lifted out of the sea. The sea turned red and I was screaming. The other fish tried to come to me but I was inconsollable.

Months and months went by but eventually it was my turn. I always knew it would come. When I felt the cold steel hook in my mouth I realised I was about to find out for myself exactly what humans do to fish. I was dragged away from my home just as I had seen happen to my parents and as I reached the surface I was gasping and helpless to my fate. The hook was tearing into my fleshy mouth and I was suddenly out of the sea for the first time in my life. The pain in my chest was unbearable and I knew I was struggling for life at this point. I saw the human and his son in the boat, triumphant at having caught me. The man pulled me off the hook, he didn't seem to care as he took half my lip with the barb. I was still fighting, writhing in pain and then he took a heavy weight, I don't know what it was, and he smashed it into my face. I could see the boy watching and I pleaded with my eyes for him to help me but his expression was cold. I had stopped moving now but I was still conscious and aware of what was happening. The horror was so clear to me, everything my parents had warned me about, the fears they had tried to express, and somthing I would never be able to tell my own offspring about... the violence these humans inflict on us, they teach it to their own children!

I now know that I was never going to be allowed to be an individual, that my life was always going to be at risk of harm from humans. I am nothing more than a piece of flesh on someone's dinner plate...

For more information about the fishing industry see Phillipa's Myspace profile:

Love them, don't eat them

Fish are smart, interesting animals with their own unique personalities-just like the dogs and cats we share our homes with. Fish can learn to avoid nets by watching other fish in their group and that they can recognize individual "shoal mates". Fish like to be touched and often gently rub against one another-like a cat weaving in and out of your legs. Like birds, many fish build nests where they raise their babies; others collect little rocks off the seafloor to make hiding places where they can rest.


Back to Animals index