Claire Corlett

Fish Food, Fish Tanks, and More
Do Fish Feel Pain? The age old question!

Do Fish Feel Pain? The age old question!

Hey everyone! Ocean conservation and marine
life expert Jaclyn Friedlander here and today at the request of Jarrett Sullivan, we are
going to talk about weather or not fish feel pain. This is an interesting topic that has been
under scientific debate for many years. I did a lot of research on the topic this week
so I will share everything I learned and then we will have to draw our own conclusions because
scientists still do not say definitively one way or the other. In my research, I traced the beginning of
the theory that fish do not feel pain to Rene Descartes, a 17th century French philosopher
but his philosophy wasn’t specific to fish. His philosophy was that animals don’t feel
pain because they don’t have the same consciousness as humans. This has long since been debunked.
If you step on a dog’s tail he will absolutely yelp in pain. According to some scientists, some fish do
not have the same neuro-physiological capacity as other animals to feel pain because they
don’t have all of the correct so called pain receptors. They did many tests on their reaction
to different things like venom and toxins that would cause pain to see how fish reacted
and their conclusion was that it couldn’t be proven that fish do feel pain. The problem
with this particular study was that had the scientists found that fish do feel pain, it
would have had a negative effect on the fishing industry and future scientific research as
there are very specific laws in place against causing animals pain. A different study that was conducted under
similar conditions, found the exact opposite. Scientists who conducted a different study
that also inflicted pain on fish concluded that they reacted as if they were under distress
with increased breathing, writhing around, plus as they put it, fish like higher vertebrates
have neurotransmitters such as endorphins that relieve suffering and the only reason
for their nervous systems to produce these painkillers is to alleviate pain. The problem
with this study, was that it was conducted for an animal rights group. From my own experience of keeping fish as
pets, I have seen first hand when a fish is nipped by another fish or accidentally injured
on a tank ornament, often times they don’t eat for a few days or if I put them in a hospital
tank separate from the main tank and introduce medicine, as their condition improves, so
does their behavior and seemingly their mood. My conclusion would be that fish do feel pain.
Weather or not this pain is perceived as pain or discomfort or something totally different,
they are still experiencing something unpleasant as fish are in fact animals. Thank you to Jarrett Sullivan for this topic
suggestion. If you have an ocean related question or an animal you want to learn more about,
leave your episode suggestions in the comments below and if you want weekly ocean and conservation
information, click subscribe. See you next Friends with Fins Friday! Thanks for watching.

27 comments on “Do Fish Feel Pain? The age old question!

  1. Thanks for looking into this Jaclyn!

    I always found the claim that fish don't feel pain to be spurious, and I agree with you.

    As to how they feel pain or whatever they feel, that will be much more difficult to discern, but hopefully one day the scientific community will discover the answer!

  2. The part where you said you'd see firsthand when a fish was bit and obviously struggled, proved it for me, fish are not vegetables, they feel pain!

  3. Thanks a lot Jaclyn for your video ! I am a vegetarian and was debating on whether to eat fish or not to get the Omega 3's from them. I have done a little research and you confirmed my previous research. Thanks a lot !!

  4. I know for a fact that fish do feel pain because last night I caught a trout and it yelled as I was pulling the hook out of it's mouth and stopped once I got the hook out.

  5. This is pretty true. While fishing once, a bluegill swallowed my fishing hook. As I tried to remove the hook it urinated uncontrollably–like what most animals would do if feeling intense pain. This has really changed my outlook on the treatment of fish.

  6. Fish pain is interesting and very important topic. There is so many fish going trough human hands every day. Here is my short video presentation about the studies which show fish feel pain:

  7. I had a comment on one of my videos about fish don't feel pain or have emotions. It seems strange to me that people think fish arn't animals. In my mind, any living creature cat/dog/crocodile/fish/ant can feel both pain and emotions. It might not be on the same conscious level as us but they do feel them.

  8. Can it be definitely proven anyone feels pain? Aside from individual testimony – nothing can be proven regarding this, can it? So does that give us carte blanche to use/abuse humans as we choose?

  9. It doesn't matter who did the study. This is an ad hominem, yes it means we should be more sceptical if the study supports their position, but to research properly you should read the study, work out if it's done in a way that makes sense. In other words, just because Hitler says Gravity is real, and that may support his position, that doesn't make gravity false. So one should read the studies with the aim of working out if that study is true. While keeping in mind the position of those that did the study.

    In other words just because animal rights groups did a study, doesn't mean it's false. Same with meat eaters. However it makes no sense that fish wouldn't feel pain, they have a nervous system and brain, so they defiantly feel and that means they should be able to feel pain since they can feel.

  10. Still don’t have a for sure answer, I go fishing whenever I can but haven’t in a long time because it bothers me seeing the fish stress out, I don’t keep my fish for food I just do it to see what fish are in the water and the excitement of not knowing what you’ll catch. But is there any alternative to doing this without hurting them?

  11. after this and many other videos and articles i have seen i have concluded that they do feel pain, but, i will continue to fish based off of the fact that i keep keeping size fish (usually), and i have been led to believe that they feel minimal pain where they would be hooked (or at least most species), but i have and always will avoid gut hooking them or letting them swallow it completely

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