Celebration Of Fish are Friends, Not Food Week! Be Mindful of Fishes and Aquatic Animals

Written by: Neira Eclarinal


Why Fish are Friends, Not Food: Celebrate and Protect Aquatic Life This Week


Ever wondered how our food choices affect the oceans? As you savor a bite of sushi or enjoy a fish taco, have you stopped to think about the life of the aquatic animals on your plate? Well, that's precisely what Fish Are Friends, Not Food Week aims to address.

So, what does this week entail? It’s all about pausing our seafood consumption and taking the time to think about our finned friends. This week-long event isn’t just for vegetarians or marine biologists. It’s for anyone who cares about the planet and wants to make a difference. Dive in with us, and by the end of this blog post, you’ll know the impact of your choices and how to participate actively in this movement.

The History and Purpose of Fish Are Friends, Not Food Week

How It All Began

Did you know this whole initiative started because of a movie? Yep, it's true! Inspired by the 2003 Pixar film *Finding Nemo*, the mantra “Fish are friends, not food” started gaining traction among marine conservationists and animal rights advocates. The film featured a memorable scene where sharks vow to stop eating fish. Funny, right? But it sparked a more serious movement aimed at raising awareness about marine life welfare.

What's the Goal?

The main goal of this week is simple yet profound: encouraging people to take a break from eating fish. This break is more than just dietary—it’s symbolic of respect and mindfulness towards our aquatic ecosystems. By dedicating a specific week, we aim to raise awareness about the importance of marine life, the consequences of overfishing, and the need for compassionate eating choices.

Environmental Impact of Overfishing and Fish Farms

The Problem with Overfishing

You’ve probably heard the term "overfishing" tossed around. But do you know why it’s a big deal? Overfishing occurs when fish are caught faster than they can reproduce. This depletes fish stocks, unbalances marine ecosystems, and endangers species.

Imagine a city suddenly losing half its population. Houses are abandoned, schools close, and stores run out of business. That’s what happens underwater. Species that depend on fish—like turtles, dolphins, and sharks—suffer dramatically. It’s a ripple effect, and it's devastating.

Dynamic, photography of a destroyed fish habitat-min

The Troubles with Fish Farms

You might think fish farming, or aquaculture, is the answer. If we're farming fish, we’re not depleting the wild populations, right? Well, it's not that simple. Fish farms contribute to pollution and environmental degradation. Waste and chemical run-off from these farms contaminate marine waters, affecting not just the farmed fish, but also wild fish and other marine life.

In the Philippines, for instance, fish farms have led to the acidification of waters, which destroys coral reefs. This doesn’t just ruin the beauty of the ocean; it wipes out critical habitats for countless species.

Ethical Considerations

Should We Treat Fish Like Pets?

Ever thought about how we treat our pets versus how we treat fish? We pamper our dogs and cats, ensuring they get the best care. But fish? They’re often just food on our plates. This week urges us to shift our perspective. Fish are intelligent, capable of feeling pain, and exhibit complex behaviors.

Dramatic environmental shot,barrier reef flourishing, often found parallel to the coastline but at a greater distance than their fringing counterparts

Reflecting on Cultural Norms

Cultural norms around the world celebrate fish as a dietary staple. But what if we celebrated fish for their beauty and intelligence instead? This week isn't about demonizing cultural practices. Instead, it's an invitation to reflect on them and perhaps, for just one week, try an alternative diet.

Health and Dietary Considerations

Nutrients—Can You Get Them Elsewhere?

Fish are known for being high in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and protein. But guess what? You can get these nutrients from plant-based sources as well. Flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts are excellent sources of omega-3s. Protein? There are plenty of plant-based options like lentils, beans, and tofu.

Experimenting with New Foods

Skipping fish for a week isn’t a hardship; it’s an adventure! Try out new recipes, explore plant-based seafood alternatives, and experience cuisines you might have overlooked.

How to Participate in Fish Are Friends, Not Food Week

Identify and Avoid Fish Meals

Start simple: identify meals that contain fish and avoid them. Read labels, ask questions at restaurants, and be vigilant. 

Try New Recipes

How about some delicious plant-based alternatives? Vegan calamari, made from mushrooms, is a hit. Or how about fishless sushi made from avocado, cucumber, and sweet potato? You'll be surprised by the variety and taste.

healthy vegetable and chicken food recipe

Educate Your Circle

Share what you’ve learned. Talk to your family and friends about why you’re participating in this week. Share educational resources and encourage others to join you.

Social Media Challenge

Use your social media platforms to spread the word. Post pictures of your fishless meals, share articles, and use hashtags like #FishAreFriendsNotFood. The more people know, the bigger the movement grows.

Benefits of Participation

Environmental Benefits

Participating contributes to reduced pollution and helps marine ecosystems recover. Each meal without fish counts towards this goal.

Ethical Gains

Feel good knowing that your choices are contributing to the well-being of marine animals. It's a small change with a big impact.

Personal Satisfaction and Health Benefits

Embracing diverse dietary options can be exciting and satisfying. Plus, you might discover new, healthier foods you love.

Combat Footage: Fish Intelligence in Action

The Triggerfish Incident

Ever seen a triggerfish in action? They’re highly territorial and can be quite aggressive when defending their nest. There’s a video that went viral, showing a diver getting chased by a triggered triggerfish. This isn’t just about aggression—it’s a display of intelligence and protective behavior.

Dynamic, wide-angle photography of a triggerfish in action

Anemonefish (Nemo’s Cousins)

Anemonefish, like Nemo, are excellent examples of fish intelligence. They aggressively defend their host anemones, even against much larger divers. It shows they’re not just passive beings; they’re active participants in their ecosystem.

Dynamic, macro photography of a clownfish hiding in an anemone

Sand Goby Strategy

Sand gobies are small, but fierce. There’s footage of a confrontation between sand gobies and an intruding goby. They coordinate defensive strategies, showcasing their intelligence and complex social behavior.

Dynamic, underwater photography of a sand goby

Reflecting on the Broader Conservation Message

The Ecology of Marine Life

Understanding the behaviors of different fish species helps us appreciate their ecological roles. Each fish has a part to play in maintaining the health of marine ecosystems.

Sustainable Practices

Becoming aware of the impacts of overfishing and fish farming can inspire us to adopt more sustainable practices. Choose sustainably sourced seafood and reduce fish consumption overall.


Celebrating Fish Are Friends, Not Food Week is more than just a dietary choice—it's a movement towards a more respectful and mindful interaction with our marine friends. By making small changes, we support the well-being of marine ecosystems, contribute to ethical treatment of animals, and often discover new, healthier food options along the way.

Call to Action

Ready to make a difference? Take the pledge to join Fish Are Friends, Not Food Week! Educate others, experiment with new recipes, and share your journey on social media. Together, we can create a ripple effect of positive change for our oceans and all its inhabitants. Dive in and be part of the movement—because every fish deserves a friend, not a fork.


1. "Overfishing." WWF. 


2. "Fish Welfare." Compassion in World Farming.


3. "Environmental Impact of Fish Farming." Science Direct. 


4. "Are Fish Sentient? Evidence on Impressive Intelligence." PETA.