Fish might be a lot smarter than we think. Recent research poses the cognitive and perceptual abilities of fish often match or exceed those of other vertebrates, and there’s strong evidence that they feel pain. They are probably the most utilized creatures on earth by humans — we harvest fish from the sea, lakes and waterways for food; grow them in massive scale in aquaculture operations; they are our most common pet; and they are widely used in scientific research — but what do we really know about them?
We love fish. We are fascinated by them. We live and breath this industry and its related facets so we get the appeal. But for others, fish aren’t as cute and approachable as other animals like cats and dogs, so the perception of fish intelligence is not based on scientific fact or reality.
This new article “Fish intelligence, sentience and ethics” published in the most recent issue of Animal Cognition looks at fish intelligence and reveals that fish perception and cognitive abilities often match or exceed other vertebrates. Plus, a review of the evidence for pain perception strongly suggests that fish experience pain in a manner similar to the rest of the vertebrates.