Biologist Culum Brown suggests so:
Every major commercial agricultural system has some ethical laws, except for fish. Nobody’s ever asked the questions: “What does a fish want? What does a fish need?” Part of the problem comes back to the question of whether fish feel pain. But for the last 30 years, the neurophysiologists have known that they do, and haven’t even argued about it. …
I think, ultimately, the revolution will come. But it’ll be slow, because the implications are huge. For example, I can’t think of a way to possibly catch fish from the open ocean in a massive commercial way to meet demand that would be anyway near our standards for ethics if we think of them like other animals. Currently, you go out, you catch a bunch of fish, you crush most of them to death in a net, you trawl them up from the bottom of the sea – which causes barotrauma for most of them – you dump them on a deck, half suffocate to death, the ones you don’t want get thrown overboard and die anyway, and the ones you keep go on ice, just to preserve the flesh for market reasons.
How do you do that in a way that has the fish’s interests involved to any degree? You can’t. So it’s not surprising that there is some fierce opposition to this idea. It would mean a massive change in the way we do things.
(Photo of Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish Market by Flickr user Cranrob)