Do You Sympathize With Gulf Coast Fish Or Fishermen?

Each night, when I watch the local news in Sarasota, Florida, I become even more apprehensive about the BP oil spill. I feel an urgent need to see the local beaches before they’re ruined. I moved here seven months ago, and, so far, my only glimpses of them have been on television. Almost every night, reporters interview local residents and tourists at the beach, asking them if they’re worried about the oil reaching Florida.  And every night, they ask local fishermen and seafood restaurants if they are suffering because of the oil spill. While I feel sad about the beaches and bad for the people who make their living from tourism, without harming animals, I have no sympathy for the fishermen. I’m tired of hearing how “unfortunate” it is that they can’t kill the fish if the oil kills them first. I’m concerned about the fish for the fishes’ sake. They are the ones who are really suffering.


Can you imagine trying to swim through a never-ending glob of oil, without enough oxygen?  Marine scientists now say that fish and other wildlife are fleeing the oil and clustering in cleaner waters along the coast, where there will ultimately be more competition for oxygen; they can be easily devoured by predators; and, perhaps worst of all, they can easily be caught by fishermen. One of the saddest accounts I’ve read since the oil rig explosion is in the June 17 Associated Press report about the exodus:


“The migration of fish away from the oil spill can be good news for some coastal residents. Tom Sabo has been fishing off Panama City, Fla., for years, and he’s never seen the fishing better or the water any clearer than it was last weekend 16 to 20 miles off the coast. His fishing spot was far enough east that it wasn’t affected by the pollution or federal restrictions, and it’s possible that his huge catch of red snapper, grouper, king mackerel and amberjack was a result of fish fleeing the spill.

After what has surely been a harrowing experience for the fish, who are doing all they can to survive and reach safe waters, I can’t think of a crueler, more heart-wrenching end. With such callous, selfish behavior, it seems these sentient beings are better off dying in the oxygen-depleted waters than onboard fishing vessels or on fishing hooks. Great options.


I’ve heard enough sympathetic news stories about the fishing industry. It’s time we focus on the real victims of the oil spill—birds, fish, turtles, crabs, dolphins, whales, and other marine animals. The first dead whale—a sperm whale—was recently found floating 77 miles south of the oil spill in the Gulf. While experts aren’t yet certain if exposure to oil caused the whale’s death, I don’t think any of us would be surprised if it did. 


We may not think of this catastrophe as cruelty to animals in the same way that we think of kicking a dog as cruelty to animals, but, it is essentially, as PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk points out, the largest case of cruelty to animals in U.S. history. And BP should be charged with cruelty to animals if the criminal investigation turns up willful fraud and negligence.


Because more than anyone else, animals are suffering because of the spill.

IndyBay Media


Vanessa S.
Vanessa S5 years ago

We need to have compassion for all living beings, not just animals. We can't just blame the fishermen for the demise of the fish. There would not be a need for fishermen if there was not a demand for fish. If anybody has a concern for the fish, the first thing they should do is dedicate themselves to the conservation of the ocean and sustainable fishing practices. Once those two things are stabalized, go from there to further the animal rights movement for the fish. Condemning people for trying to make a living for their families IS NOT going to gain more supporters for the rights of fish.

Carmen Bouwhuis Jansen

I hate oil !!!

Ann Eastman
Ann Eastman6 years ago

I was very much struck by the compassion in Paula P's comment, and by her observation that the world has seemed to forget about the 11 killed in the explosion and their families.

Sarah D.
Sarah D6 years ago

"Fishermen are killers."

So are other fish like bigger fish and sharks, and sea mammals like dolphins, whales and seals and otters who eat fish and other sea mammals.

Sarah D.
Sarah D6 years ago

"My sympathy is for the marine life. People can survive, the fish are doomed."

What about when the plants end up being poisoned?

Lisa Bxx
L X6 years ago

Sorry--that was the mangrove estuary destruction news link.

This is the Gulf of Mexico pet emergency news link:

Lisa Bxx
L X6 years ago

Shelters filling up as Gulf pet owners struggle

"Other dogs and cats were abandoned by fishermen whose incomes were abruptly cut off and by families forced to downsize, moving into apartments that prohibit pets.

"It's more than we can handle," Asevedo said. "We have way more coming in than going out."

"The trend is nothing new to people who work with animals. From California to Florida, millions of pets were abandoned in 2007 and 2008 as the U.S. economy floundered. The real estate bubble burst, homes went into foreclosure and people were forced to make tough choices as they scaled back their lifestyles.

"It comes down to feeding your family or feeding your dog. That's the decision they have to make," said Colleen Bosley of Catholic Charities of New Orleans, which is now partnering with the SPCA to supply pet food at its weekly food distributions in coastal parishes.

"The SPCA, backed by PetCo Foundation, Del Monte and others, is trying to help on other fronts, too, chief executive Ana Zorrilla said..."

Glenna Jones-kachtik
Glenna Kachtik6 years ago

This BP oil spill has destroyed more habitat than just fish. The coral will die, the sea will be overwhelmed. This oil spill will do more damage in a small amount of time than any fisherman could do in their lifetime. Most fishermen know that they cannot overfish and hope to survive in coming years. They know that being greedy will put one out of business.

I do feel sorry for the fishermen - just think - they have families to feed; they may have small children and fishing is the way they do that. So you feel more sorry for fish than for babies (weaned of course) who might die because their father is out of work because a company was allowed to pollute?

Would you care about those people who were Vegetarians or Vegans - the kelp is also being destroyed & the you feel sorry for the kelp harvesters? Or does your good will only go to fish, sea life and animals... Are people who aren't just like you expendable? You have no compassion for people and you call yourself peaceful....What happened to all things are connected? No man is an island entire to himself? Do not ask for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee? Any persons misfortune diminishes another?
I have quit reading Heather's articles altogether. Under the guise of animal welfare; they mostly chastise people for not becoming vegan. Even vegetarians are suspect as they still drink milk, eat eggs & cheese. When I see a real article about shooting wolves or bears - I'll read it. Otherwise

Joanne Unleashed-com
Joanne U6 years ago

Diane wrote: Once again, words of wisdom from the mouths of such intelligent beings as Holly & Joanne.........."who cares about the fishermen or their families? Go vegan!" I'm really starting to wonder if there is some mental disease that happens to those who give up eating meat, poultry and fish.

Diane, my post was made as pure satire. Try reading it again knowing that I'm making fun of people who love animals so much they want to see their own species suffer and diet.

Lisa Bxx
L X6 years ago

I am absolutely appalled by the number of comments here wishing people dead. You should all be deeply ashamed of yourselves. Go out into the world and do something positive.