Will Scottish Fishing Industry Workers Become Kelp Farmers?

Posted by on January 26, 2021 | Permalink

Following reports that Scotland’s fishing industry is struggling for business – amid Brexit pressures and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic – PETA has sent a letter to James Withers, the chief executive of Scotland Food & Drink.

In the letter, PETA presented Withers with an animal- and planet-friendly suggestion: farm kelp.

Kelp is not only a popular superfood – containing high amounts of iodine and vitamin K – but also kinder to the environment. Macroalgae, such as kelp, already play an important role in reducing the effects of climate change – as kelp forests are known to be a greater carbon sink than woodlands. They also restore ocean ecosystems, acting like a rainforest canopy to offer a home to marine life.

What’s Wrong With Fishing?

Every year, humans drag billions of fish out of the ocean in painful, frightening, and gruesome ways.

Even though fish and other sea animals are capable of feeling pain and suffering, they’re usually killed with absolutely no regard for their welfare. When pulled from the ocean’s depths, they undergo excruciating decompression – the internal pressure can cause their swim bladders to rupture, pop their eyes out of their heads, and push their stomachs out through their mouths.

Many fish slowly suffocate on fishing vessels, while others are still alive and thrashing when their throats and bellies are slit open.

Crustaceans also feel pain and suffer when they’re mutilated and boiled alive after being taken from their ocean homes.

Fishing Hurts Other Animals, Too

“Non-target” marine animals also fall victim to the fishing industry. An estimated 300,000 cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) are killed every year as “by-catch” after becoming entangled in fishing nets, while turtles, seals, birds, and non-target fish – some of which are protected species – also die of injuries caused by nets and other tackle.

While single-use plastics such as bags, straws, and other pieces of litter do cause pollution, it’s actually abandoned or discarded fishing gear that a recent report named “the most harmful form of marine debris for animals”. This equipment – also known as “ghost gear” – mutilates and kills millions of sea animals every year.

Fishing Is an Environmental Nightmare

Massive trawlers with nets the size of football pitches sweep the seabed, destroying coral and marine plants and scooping up everything – and everyone – in their path.

An estimated 90% of the world’s fish populations are exploited, and at this rate, there really won’t always be plenty more fish in the sea.

What You Can Do

Our choices could turn the tide. By leaving fish off our plates, we can save the lives of countless animals and take a stand against an environmentally destructive global industry that harms millions of sentient individuals every day.

To take action to protect our oceans, go vegan. You can take our 30-day vegan pledge to receive tips and advice for every part of your journey:

You can also check out our guide to the vegan fish products available in the UK that will give you that “fishy” taste without harming any animals. Win-win!