PUT EXTRA MONEY IN YOUR POCKET
https://www.ebates.com/r/SYBIL414?eeid=29041

Can Fish Feel Pain?

Fresh, Salt, & Pond fish. Aquatic inverts, jelly fish, shrimp, octopus, etc.

Moderators: Ash, TamanduaGirl

User avatar
Ash
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 7737
Joined: Fri Oct 08, 2010 11:38 am
Location: Utah

Can Fish Feel Pain?

Postby Ash » Thu Mar 21, 2013 3:46 am

So this is something that's always bothered me and I was hoping someone could shed some light on this for me.

When you go fishing and you catch fish and take them out of the water, how long is a fish able to survive? And is it painful for it to be out of the water and unable to breathe? When I'd go fishing I'd catch fish with my dad and several hours later they'd still be moving.

1) So are they suffering that whole time?

2) Then once you get back from fishing, do they feel it as you clean/kill them? I know with snakes, decapitation isn't the most humane way to kill them, but that's how you kill fish. Does it hurt them?
3 red fox, 4 iguanas, nile monitor, BW tegu, sailfin dragon, leachie gecko, 6 snakes, 2 salamanders, tarantula
User avatar
Jen Jen
Posts: 694
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2011 8:18 pm
Location: Florida

Re: Can Fish Feel Pain?

Postby Jen Jen » Thu Mar 21, 2013 7:04 am

Huh, not something I've ever considered, I would like to know the answer to this as well.
User avatar
Juska
Posts: 2172
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2008 10:08 am
Location: Pennsylvania, US
Contact:

Re: Can Fish Feel Pain?

Postby Juska » Thu Mar 21, 2013 11:02 am

They most certainly can feel pain.

Here's a graphic explaining how they breathe in water:
Image

And just like people, who's lungs are built to gather O2 from air, fishs' gills are adapted to gather it from water. That's why people can't breath underwater and fish can't really breathe on land. Also the reason they can't live in tiny containers, despite popular belief. Just like if we were stuck in a tiny, air-tight room, we would use up all the oxygen and die. Same with fish. Though some fish like Betta splendens and Gouramis have a labyrinth lung system which allows them to breathe off the surface for a short time, but it's only a survival tactic and shouldn't be how they're meant to live their entire lives. So they shouldn't be kept in a tiny cup like people think they can. Other species are amphibious or have other organs that allow them to breathe air, also.

When they're out of water, I can't imagine the simple fact that they can't breathe as being "painful", per se. When someone is suffocating I don't think they're feeling pain, but an extreme amount of stress and [in humans] fear, depending on the circumstance. The hook probably doesn't hurt them that much either; it goes through such a thin piece of flesh in their mouth that they probably don't even feel it, when it's done correctly. The reason they fight is probably more about them wanting to get away than pain or fear, as we feel it.

They do feel physical pain though. I've observed enough fish to know that myself. If a fish hurts itself or has a fresh wound they'll freak out and either dart around wildly or they'll try to hide to prevent more harm. I don't believe this is "fear" but rather just a primal instinct of self-preservation. They can also be stressed to death. They produce stress hormones that can build up and kill them if it's too much.

Other conditions like fin rot and fungus might make a fish feel strange or "sick" but I don't believe those cause them pain. When Simo, my Betta, contracted fin rot after we moved, he acted completely normal and the only difference was his fins receding. Even during the treatment period he didn't change.

The most humane method of killing fish that I'm aware of is overdosing them with a chemical (Finquel) that anesthetizes them, and doubling the dose will also kill them. Beheading is another method, though with certain fish that have wide bodies this can be difficult. You're supposed to take a sharp metal rod and stab them in the brain after you do that, to prevent any further nerve function, because we don't know if a severed head feels pain or thinks after the act. With very tiny fish (think Neon Tetra or smaller) you can also put them in a bucket or other container and dump freezing water over them, that usually stuns and kills them very quickly.
Pet parent of Emo the border collie mix, Conte the schnoodle and Namira the harlequin cat!
User avatar
TamanduaGirl
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 10020
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2006 11:42 pm
Location: Oregon, USA
Contact:

Re: Can Fish Feel Pain?

Postby TamanduaGirl » Thu Mar 21, 2013 3:31 pm

Of course they feel pain. Fish possess similar pain receptors to higher vertebrates.

We always kept ours in water until killed. When killing for food of course you don't want to use chemicals so we just sever the spine at the base of the head. I've never seen the head remain active(unlike with snakes) so it seems effective.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/ar ... 9104000498
User avatar
Ash
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 7737
Joined: Fri Oct 08, 2010 11:38 am
Location: Utah

Re: Can Fish Feel Pain?

Postby Ash » Thu Mar 21, 2013 6:32 pm

Okay. So cutting off their heads is a humane way to do it. That makes me feel better.
3 red fox, 4 iguanas, nile monitor, BW tegu, sailfin dragon, leachie gecko, 6 snakes, 2 salamanders, tarantula
User avatar
Ash
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 7737
Joined: Fri Oct 08, 2010 11:38 am
Location: Utah

Re: Can Fish Feel Pain?

Postby Ash » Thu Mar 21, 2013 6:49 pm

Actually I read on a fishing website that some fishermen carry a screwdriver or sharp knives so that they can puncture the fish's brain. It kills the fish instantly. I think that's the best way to do it.

Sorry for the dumb questions, it's just always bothered me a lot. I figured they could feel pain, but I just wanted to be sure.

And I also found the answer to my other question about how long they can survive out of water. It varies greatly between fish. Some can live thirty minutes, some two hours. And some weird species can live months out of water. But it sounded like after a few minutes of being out of the water they kind of go wonky and are dazed. So they may be alive, but not registering things well.
3 red fox, 4 iguanas, nile monitor, BW tegu, sailfin dragon, leachie gecko, 6 snakes, 2 salamanders, tarantula
User avatar
Juska
Posts: 2172
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2008 10:08 am
Location: Pennsylvania, US
Contact:

Re: Can Fish Feel Pain?

Postby Juska » Thu Mar 21, 2013 6:52 pm

Eh, you have to know exactly where it is, then. I can imagine getting good at it is going to cause a few fish some serious pain. Severing the head at least severs the nerves and then it probably doesn't feel much.
Pet parent of Emo the border collie mix, Conte the schnoodle and Namira the harlequin cat!
User avatar
Ash
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 7737
Joined: Fri Oct 08, 2010 11:38 am
Location: Utah

Re: Can Fish Feel Pain?

Postby Ash » Thu Mar 21, 2013 7:03 pm

Here's something I found though: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/9797948/Fish-cannot-feel-pain-say-scientists.html

It's a recent (2013) study that says fish cannot feel pain, and it explains why. It says that despite having the pain receptors their neocortex isn't as developed as a human's, and that a highly developed neocortex is needed to feel pain in the way we think of pain.
3 red fox, 4 iguanas, nile monitor, BW tegu, sailfin dragon, leachie gecko, 6 snakes, 2 salamanders, tarantula
User avatar
Juska
Posts: 2172
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2008 10:08 am
Location: Pennsylvania, US
Contact:

Re: Can Fish Feel Pain?

Postby Juska » Thu Mar 21, 2013 7:25 pm

They probably don't react to it with panic like people do, but they definitelyfeel it and react to it.
Pet parent of Emo the border collie mix, Conte the schnoodle and Namira the harlequin cat!
User avatar
TamanduaGirl
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 10020
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2006 11:42 pm
Location: Oregon, USA
Contact:

Re: Can Fish Feel Pain?

Postby TamanduaGirl » Thu Mar 21, 2013 8:18 pm

Seriously sometimes science gets a bit silly trying to prove things that are obvious. I mean you can poke a fish with a needle or something and see it react like it feels bad and to get away so pain. I think it's a bit silly to try and prove they don't. Now do they experience it the exact same as we do, well that would be hard to say, but it's kind of a mute nit pick to me. They obviously feel it and it's not pleasant.

To the study brain structure doesn't mean as much as some think. There's been studies on flies and other insects proving they think and their brain are considered super primitive. I think I posted about it here once a long time ago. Sure they aren't contemplating Shakespeare but it showed they are capable of more than their simple structure implied.
User avatar
Lasergrl
moderator
moderator
Posts: 1777
Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2005 9:50 pm
Location: northeast, Ohio

Re: Can Fish Feel Pain?

Postby Lasergrl » Thu Mar 21, 2013 9:12 pm

I think they feel something and are programmed to respond as in to save themselves. Actual pain in the way we feel it, I cant say Im sold on it. Ive seen too many fish swimming around normally that have had other fish half way eat them. Then again they could be acting out of instinct. I think it is impossible to say one way or the other how something else percieves something. I personally dont think they "suffer" the way other animals would be, given the same kinds of injuries.
Take how the lateral line works, that is the very sensitive organ that runs down the side of most fish. Most fish feel anything in that area very well, but dont seem to have much sensation anywhere else.

Return to “Fish and Aquaria - Aquatic inverts”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest