Fish Day – protection and respect for marine inhabitants

Dzień Ryby

“Children and fish have no voice”. – this popular saying is often quoted in the context of children’s rights, and much less often in relation to the animal world. In order to make the fish’s voice heard, and in fact to begin to speak out about the need to protect entire inland and marine ecosystems, we celebrate Fish Day on December 20 each year.

Fish Day

Fish Day, initiated by the Empathy Association in 2003, is an opportunity to reflect, but also to mobilize action on fish species conservation. On this day, the international community, environmental organizations, scientists, as well as private initiators pay special attention to the need to protect ichthyofauna. Fish, as an essential component of marine and freshwater ecosystems, play a key role in maintaining biological balance and good water status. It is worth emphasizing that species protection, carried out properly, is the key to the well-being of fish communities. The measures that are planned and implemented range from prohibiting the catching, keeping and preparation of fish and the destruction of their habitat to the preservation of a species in its area of distribution.

The Fish Day celebration focuses on raising public awareness of anthropogenic threats – from overfishing to water pollution and seabed destruction to climate change. The Fish Day celebration is all about meetings, talks and educational activities.

Fish have a voice

Research scientists have already repeatedly confirmed that fish hear and communicate through sounds. Instead of external ears, they have an inner ear, which is located in the head. Sound reception is enhanced by the Weber apparatus and swim bladder. Besides, they make various noises (grunting, snapping, clicking) thanks to their bony structures or swim bladder. It has been discovered that nearly a thousand species of fish can emit sounds and so communicate with each other. A database of fish sounds has even been created – FishSounds.

Underappreciated treasures of the deep

Scientists are constantly discovering new species, and it is estimated that at least 5,000. still remains unrecognized. Polish anglers and researchers interact with about 120 species. The Empathy Association sees Fish Day as a moment to draw attention to the fact that fish are self-aware creatures. They have a well-developed brain and senses. They feel pressure, feel tissue damage, high temperatures, and also react to harmful substances. Ironically, they can’t show it in a way we can understand. Despite growing awareness, these aquatic creatures are still neglected, and the respect and care due them is not enough.

Fish and carp day a symbol during the Christmas holidays

In the run-up to Christmas, carp, the hero of many Polish Christmas Eve tables, occupies a special place in our deliberations. Fish Day is an excellent opportunity to look at this tradition from a new perspective – with concern for the welfare of carp and awareness of their role in the ecosystem.

What measures are worth taking to protect fish?

Fish are the world’s oldest vertebrates. They appeared about 480 million years ago. Taking action to protect them may seem like a big challenge, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have an obligation to try. By choosing fish from sustainably operated sources, we can show support for fishing practices that respect marine ecosystems. Supporting marine conservation organizations, educating people about the consequences of indiscriminate fishing, and promoting alternative sources of protein in the diet are small but important steps toward improving the fate of fish. By combining growing awareness with concrete action, we can work together for a better future for water residents.

What can I do to make Fish Day meaningful?

Fish consumption has a direct impact on marine stocks, so to support sustainable fishing, it is worth following these principles:

  • If possible, choose fish from local catches;
  • Buy certified fish products;
  • Buy farmed fish;
  • Do not buy undersized fish, that is, fish that are too young to have offspring;
  • Buy fish that are not in danger of extinction;
  • if possible, replace fish protein in the diet with another.

The National Institute of Public Health recommends eating fish at least twice a week. They are a rich source of valuable nutrients that, among other things. counteract diseases of civilization. However, it is necessary to follow a few rules in order not to harm yourself, but especially the fish and the ecosystem balance. When shopping, let’s be guided not only by our tastes, but let’s check the certifications – they are a guarantee of responsible and sustainable fishing practices, which are inextricably linked to concern for species protection.

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