On Saturday, the Wrightsville Beach Inshore Challenge in North Carolina was met with a protest from local vegans that they called a “Vigil for Fish.”
“Contestants will take boats out to sea to compete in various categories for various prizes, including cash. We will hold our vigil at the marina in the place where they weigh the fish they have killed,” read the description on their event, reflecting on their deep, passionate inner turmoil over the precious fish lives lost.
Protestors carried signs with nifty vegan slogans such as "Fish feel pain," "Sea life not seafood," and "Fish want to live." They even had “great vegan noms” after their strenuous day of demonstrations.
“We’re vegan activists, and we want to bring awareness to what fish go through," protester Daniel Veber told WECT. “Look at it from this fish’s point of view. If you were in your home, you would not want a hook to be hooked in the mouth, you would not want to be pulled up, you wouldn’t have to fight hours for your life to be pulled up. it’s scary.”
“We want to come out for the fish," Veber continued. "A lot of times, they look so different from us that you don’t really put them into a position where you give them individual status, where they are actually individuals that want to live. They don’t want to pulled out of the water. Fish have families, fish want to live.”
Problem is, the Inshore Challenge is highly conservation-oriented.
“We are very much a conservation-based tournament," said Gary Hurley, an organizer of the fishing tournament. "In fact, we provide extra payout, anglers can win extra money, if they weigh their fish in alive. So we encourage them not to kill the fish, but to weigh the fish alive. And then they get extra money, and we release the fish.”
Not only do they try and release live fish, but the fish they do keep go to a very charitable cause.
“A lot of the fish that we take, we donate to First Fruit Ministries, which is a Wilmington-based food bank that accepts whole fish, and then puts it to people in need. We feel good about what we’re doing," said Hurley.
While the protestors were so focused on the lives and feelings of these fish, they largely ignored the real problem facing aquatic life: overfishing. But who really cares about the real problems when you have fish sentiment to worry about?