To abolish the farming and fishing of aquatic animals, as well as the sale and consumption of their flesh.
Because aquaculture and fishing cause considerable harm, in suffering and in death, to an immense number of aquatic animals, although it is not necessary to eat their flesh.
“The capacity for suffering – or more strictly, for suffering and/or enjoyment or happiness – is not just another characteristic like the capacity for language or higher mathematics. (...) [When we say] we must consider the interests of all beings with the capacity for suffering or enjoyment [we do] not arbitrarily exclude from consideration any interests at all – as those who draw the line with reference to the possession of reason or language do. The capacity for suffering and enjoyment is a prerequisite for having interests at all, a condition that must be satisfied before we can speak of interests in a meaningful way. It would be nonsense to say that it was not in the interests of a stone to be kicked along the road by a schoolboy. A stone does not have interests because it cannot suffer. Nothing that we can do to it could possibly make any difference to its welfare. The capacity for suffering and enjoyment is, however, not only necessary, but also sufficient for us to say that a being has interests-at an absolute minimum, an interest in not suffering. A mouse, for example, does have an interest in not being kicked along the road, because it will suffer if it is.”
Peter Singer, Animal Liberation, HarperCollins, 2002, 
There is strong consensus on the capacity of fishes to feel pain : more and more scientific studies are bringing evidence that they experience pain consciously. We can say the same thing about cephalopods (octopuses, squids and cuttlefishes), whose capacity to feel pain is now solidly established.
Serious studies on the sentience of crustaceans are more scarce, but they show that there is a strong case for believing that crustaceans are also sentient.
We have very strong evidence that cephalopods are sentient and they are molluscs. However, bivalvia (oysters, mussels and other molluscs with shells) have an extremely simple nervous system which is probably too rudimentary for sentience.
At the present state of scientific research, we cannot simply declare these animals to be unable to feel pain and other emotions, but there is little evidence that they can. In doubt, one can choose to refrain from eating them, but we decided it would be neither desirable nor justified to include them in our campaign for the abolition of fishing and fish farming.
Shouldn’t the foods we eat and our hobbies be determined by each person’s personal freedom of choice?
The activities that cause these major harms to others do not belong to the liberty of individuals. It is up to society to abolish them by law.
Arguments in favor of the abolition of fishing should be given the space to be expressed and discussed on their own merits. Would it be democratic to want to prevent a debate on the legitimacy of fishing from taking place?
Shouldn't we give up wanting to abolish fishing, in order to safeguard a sector of the economy that produces jobs?
Unfair practices cannot be justified by using such arguments as safeguarding jobs or any other economic reasons. The abolition of slavery resulted in some people losing their jobs; they received compensation for their loss. Therefore, when it comes to abolishing fishing and aquaculture farms, abolitionists do not have to take into account financial considerations. Which doesn't mean they shouldn't take an interest in the issue. During the transition period, there will need to be some kind of support to help facilitate the reconversion of workers that are currently living off these practices, in order to facilitate their redeployment as well as that of the companies and of the sector concerned. The authorities also have a duty to support the redeployment.
Aquaculture and fishing seem essential to the subsistence of many humans. Wanting to abolish fishing is to ignore their interests!?
No. Their interests should and can be taken into account when carrying out of the abolition of fishing.
Why does the campaign demand the abolition rather than a mere reduction in fishing and fish farming?
Reduction in fishing and fish farming would certainly bring some relief to a number of animals, but that would still not make the exploitation, killing and suffering of those left behind acceptable. Furthermore, to demand abolition is to ask publicly for the recognition of the interests of fishes, cephalopods and crustaceans - they do matter and this implies that fishing and fish farming should be abolished.
The demand for abolition can have a larger impact on our ingrained ways of thinking and culture than a simple demand for reduction or for “sustainable fishing”. It should lead to a progressive reduction in fishing and fish farming, until their complete prohibition.
The demand for abolition does not conflict with concerns for greater welfare for the animals who are exploited and killed. Campaigns asking for the improvement in the condition of exploited animals can be seen as progressive steps in raising awareness among the population, in the hope that one day abolition becomes reality.
Our societies’ capacity to give a decent life and a death without suffering to animals whose flesh is commercialized remains to be established.
In any case, flesh consumption requires the killing of animals for a product that is not necessary to be in good health, nor to enjoy pleasing food.
A sentient being is animated by the desire to continue her/his existence. To stop his life is to deprive the individual of the joys, pleasures, satisfactions she/he could legitimately expect.
What is unrealistic is to hope that fishing and fish farming will one day be possible without neglecting the fundamental interests of animals.
The demand for abolition is realistic because we do not need to eat animal flesh to live long, healthy lives.
Work in the fishing and the fish farming industries can be replaced by work in other types of industries.
Our societies have made other major transitions in their values and practices in the last centuries - sometimes for strong ethical reasons.
Concern for non-human animals is rising and the idea of animal rights getting more popular.
As such, the demand for the abolition of fishing and fish farming is realistic because it has justice on its side and is embedded in our striving for greater moral progress.
Does this movement promote equality between humans and animals? Does this movement give rights to animals?
This movement promotes the abolition of fishing and aquaculture farming. Even if the campaign insists on speciesism, one can strive for the abolition of fishing while still believing that membership in the human species is morally relevant. One can adhere to this objective whether one wants or not to give animals fundamental rights modeled on certain human rights. Simply rejecting unnecessary death and suffering is enough to lead us to want the abolition of fishing. In practice, abolishing fishing, is, in fact, to give animals the right to not be mistreated nor killed to be eaten by humans.
Animals also suffer, and are killed, for bullfighting, experimentation, fur, etc. Why is this movement only about fishing and fish farming?
Each practice has its specificities (ethical, cultural, economic, etc.) which create different questions than the others, despite the links that can exist between them. For example, knowing that it is legitimate to ban a food product in the name of animals’ interests is a problem linked to meat consumption, but not to animal experimentation.
Many terrestrial animals are also victims of the consumption of their flesh. Why does this claim apply only to aquatic animals?
There is a movement for the abolition of meat, for the closing down of all slaughterhouses, which is also a movement for putting an end to the consumption of the flesh of aquatic animals. But aquatic animals are victims of a special kind of dissimulation. This dissimulation is expressed, for example, in the fact that we do not think of the flesh of aquatic animals when we hear the word “meat”. Similarly, we do not think of fishing boats and the other places where aquatic animals are killed when we hear the word “slaughterhouse”. This dissimulation has dramatic consequences because it conceals the harms of fishing and fish farming: the bloodiest of all massacres is happening under water. Such concealment makes necessary a campaign specifically targeting the “aquatic question”, in order for such problems to emerge in our common culture.
Our campaign also concerns aquatic mammals, reptiles and birds, which are part of the countless victims of fishing, usually as “collateral damage”. However, we focus on fishes, cephalopods and crustaceans because they are the overwhelming majority of the animals exploited and killed. Their interests must be promoted and emphasised if we want to fight speciesism and obtain the abolition of fishing and fish farming.
The environmental impact of fishing is already targeted by many campaigns led by environmental groups. This campaign is based on the fact that aquatic animals are the main victims of fishing. Every sentient being has its own interests which must be taken in consideration. This campaign aims to raise awareness about these individuals from an ethical point of view, which by itself leads to the demand to put an end to fishing.
Consideration for “natural equilibriums” and “the state of our oceans” cannot by itself lead to the consideration of the interests of the inhabitants of these spaces, who are often seen as mere elements of the “environment” rather than as individuals with their own aims which matter in themselves.
For most people, these products are perceived differently because it seems that they do not require the killing of animals. However, in practice, to abolish fishing and fish farming is to also reconsider eggs and other aquatic animal's products, or at least the quasi-totality of current production. In fact, the consumption of these products is not at all necessary for a healthy diet, and: - the animals concerned (sturgeons, cuttlefish...) are also killed for their flesh - and, just as for meat, our societies’ capacity to provide a decent life to these animals has not been established.
The promotion of vegetarianism aims that individuals decide to change their consumption habits and stop eating meat. The movement for the abolition of fishing, as the movement for the abolition of meat (or for the closing down of all slautherhouses) is a political approach: its aim is to get the public opinion to adhere to the idea that fishing should be banned. The objective is that human societies, one after another, decide to ban the production, sale, and consumption of aquatic animal's meat. From the point of view of the movement, the refusal to eat sentient “sea food“ can be seen as a political boycott, as an expression of one’s support of abolition. In Great Britain at the end of the 18th century, during the movement for the abolition of slavery, 300,000 people boycotted sugar produced from plantations with slaves.
Thus in France*:
– 14% of people questioned responded that they disagree* with the statement “It is normal that humans raise animals for their meat”;
– 39% disagree with the idea that it is normal “that one can kill an animal by fishing”;
– 58.8% disagree with the idea that it is normal “that one can kill an animal by hunting”.
* People saying “mostly disagree” or “strongly disagree” among 1000 people questioned for a study by Geneviève Cazes-Valette, « Le rapport à la viande chez le mangeur français contemporain », (“The relationship between meat and the contemporary French consumer”), November 2004, p. 83.
Spontaneous changes in consumer behaviour are not sufficient to put an end to the butchery. There are reasons for this. The situation is familiar: the problems of road safety, pollution, human poverty or child abuse cannot be solved just by relying on the capacity of each person to modify her or his habits to remedy the situation, even when those problems are generally acknowledged to be unethical. What is more, advocating the abolition of fishing is a logical extension of being a vegetarian or a vegan. People who are against bull-fighting do not only ask individuals to boycott bull-fighting events; they ask for bull-fighting to be banned. The opponents of foie gras do not only advise people against buying it, they want force feeding to be banned. The same thing goes for the opponents of slavery, child labour... Why would the opponents of fishing be the only ones to restrict themselves to giving individual advice?
The claim for the abolition of fishing was conceived collectively by people from different horizons, at the call of the association PEA - Pour l'Egalité Animale (french-speaking Switzerland), reunited on an open internet listserv created for this purpose. This same small group of people, and any new people who would like to join them, are also taking on the task to launch this movement internationally with animal organizations, with the idea that they also take up the movement themselves.
But the movement belongs to no one, no more than the movement to abolish slavery did not belong to a small circle; it constitutes an objective to attain, a perspective to orient our strategies, a concrete horizon that can reunite us and galvanize our energies, and we hope that each person, that each organization, will know how to work for its accomplishment through their own ingenuity.
For this reason, we are not looking to create a particular structure—neither to create chapters, nor even to federate. Firstly, a network between engaged individuals and structures seems sufficient to exchange information as well as strategies and to put our efforts together so that this movement proves successful. Ultimately, it is likely that it is justified to move towards an international coalition to influence decisions on a global scale.
The Movement is thus open to all!