June 2014 – News

This month saw claims that fish should be stunned in a similar way to livestock after they are caught. The claims were made by the government’s Farm Animal Welfare Committee (FAWC) who put forward the idea after deciding that fish had a “sensory experience of pain” and required the same standard of welfare as other species such as cattle and pigs. This made national news and was featured on the BBC TV show Newsnight, where Professor Victoria Braithewaite of Penn State University in the USA – and the author of the book Do Fish Feel Pain – argued the case for a more humane handling of fish by commercial vessels. As it stands there are no plans to change the way the lives of fish are ended by when they are commercially caught, but the media attention generated by this story shows that the welfare of fish is now a serious issue and one which can attract considerable attention. Read more here.

There were calls this month for anglers in Wales to return more of the sea trout and salmon which they caught. While 70%+ of these species were already returned the environment organisation Natural Resources Wales requested this to increase to 90% or more in rivers considered “at risk” to allow more migrating fish to arrive at their destination and spawn. Link here.

The US Secretary of State John Kerry launched an initiative this month to save the world’s “under siege” oceans. Kerry was speaking ahead of a two-day summit on the oceans which would be attended by world leaders, environmental activists and campaigners and members of the scientific community. It was hoped that the summit would be able to make progress on issues such as overfishing, enforcement to stop illegal and unregulated fishing, pollution and plans to create protected marine zones across the world to allow some fish stocks to recover. The summit was due to take place on June the 16-17th.

Finally a photographer managed to catch pictures of a young bottlenosed dolphin throwing a jellyfish around like a football. The dolphin was apparently simply playing and other than amusement gained no advantage from its treatment of the jellyfish. See the pictures by clicking here.