Library:Oceans Away from Home - The Suffering of Fish in Captivity (report)

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Oceans Away from Home - The Suffering of Fish in Captivity (report)

Oceans Away from Home: The Suffering of Fish in Captivity is a report published by Born Free USA in 2023. The report aims to raise awareness about the welfare and conservation issues of fish kept in captivity, especially in the ornamental fish trade, zoos, and aquariums.


The report covers:

  • The universal research bias that neglects fish and causes a lack of knowledge and protection for their needs and interests.
  • The unregulated and unethical practices of harvesting fish from the wild to supply the demand for the private fish trade, which affects more than 1 billion ornamental fish from over 5,000 species annually.
  • The inability of zoos and aquariums to safeguard fish welfare and conservation in captivity, due to inadequate enclosure standards, environmental enrichment, signage, and monitoring.
  • The evidence of fish sentience, intelligence, emotion, and pain perception, which challenges the common assumption that fish are less valuable or deserving than other animals.
  • The failure of United States legislation to adequately protect fish from abuse, cruelty, or neglect in captivity, as fish are often excluded from the definition of “animals” in animal welfare laws.
  • The wild population depletion of many fish species due to overexploitation for the aquarium trade, and the lack of effective regulations under CITES and ESA to prevent it.


  • Halting the wild capture of fish for zoos and aquariums, and phasing out touch tanks from aquariums, as they do not contribute to any genuine conservation efforts and directly negatively impact the welfare of the animals and humans involved.
  • Including fish in the definition of “animals” in both state and federal animal cruelty legislation, based on the scientific evidence of their sentience and suffering.
  • Supporting research and education on fish biology, behavior, welfare, and conservation, and promoting public awareness and empathy for these often overlooked and neglected animals.

See also

External links