MEDIA RELEASE: Plight of Fish & Dangers of Aquarium Trade Highlighted for 2nd Annual Respect for Fish Day

MEDIA RELEASE: Plight of Fish & Dangers of Aquarium Trade Highlighted for 2nd Annual Respect for Fish Day

​​SAN RAFAEL, Calif. (August 1, 2021)In Defense of Animals and more than 250 organizations across the nation are celebrating the second annual Respect for Fish Day on August 1, to raise awareness about the plight of fish — who are among the most cruelly treated and exploited animals on Earth — and change consumer behaviors and policies. This year In Defense of Animals is joined for exclusive events by the creators of the film The Dark Hobby, which exposes how the aquarium trade is devastating populations of tropical fish and marine ecosystems.


“We are thrilled to host the second annual Respect for Fish Day alongside hundreds of dedicated organizations and individuals who want to create a more compassionate world for fish. This year, we’re teaming up with the makers of The Dark Hobby to host exclusive live events, activists in New Jersey to take a stand against SeaQuest interactive aquariums and zoos, and much more. Please join us at,” said Julie Massa, Wild Animals campaigner for In Defense of Animals.


Conclusive scientific evidence proves that fish feel pain and emotions. They are also intelligent animals who can learn by imitation, count, recognize the faces of group members, and use tools. Despite their considerable capabilities, trillions of fish are killed around the world every year for food and sport, in laboratories, and in the pet and aquarium trades.


Fish are also excluded from many animal protection laws that would give them even a modicum of protection, including the Animal Welfare Act, the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, and the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act. Many states explicitly exempt fish from being protected by their anti-cruelty laws, or exempt standard fishing practices from compliance with them.


Members of the public are invited to learn more and take part both online and in person.  


In Defense of Animals and The Dark Hobby will be hosting two virtual panels via Zoom highlighting documentaries focused on saving marine animals and the deadly impact of the aquarium trade on fish and marine ecosystems.


Panelists include Lisa Levinson, Campaign Director for In Defense of Animals; Paula Fouce, The Dark Hobby Director; Leilani Munter, featured in Racing Extinction, Oceanic Preservation Society documentary filmmaker, and former professional racecar driver; David McGuire, National Geographic Explorer, International Ocean Film Festival (San Francisco), and Shark Stewards Director; David Abel, Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Globe reporter and Entangled Director; Swati Thiyagarajan, Environmental Journalist at Sea Change Project, which produced My Octopus Teacher; Mary Finelli, Founder and President of Fish Feel; and Ashley Byrne, Associate Communications Director for PETA. 

“We’re excited to join Respect for Fish Day to protect all reef wildlife,” said Paula Fouce, director and producer of The Dark Hobby. “At any given moment, 28 million fish are in the aquarium trade pipeline from capture to home hobbyist tank. Representing 1,800 species, many die within a year, generating more demand.” 


In Defense of Animals and Stop SeaQuest Woodbridge will also be hosting a demonstration planned for SeaQuest at Woodbridge Center in N.J., which continues to operate despite egregious animal welfare violations, animal deaths, illegal activity and injuries to the public.


Members of the public are urged to join the movement and participate by going to the Respect for Fish Day website to register for The Dark Hobby’s virtual panels, take action to Stop SeaQuest, and download fish exploitation factsheets.

Learn more and take part in Respect for Fish Day at



In Defense of Animals, Julie Massa,, 415-448-0048 x232

The Dark Hobby, Traci Bonilla,, 424-353-1736



In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization with over 250,000 supporters and a 38-year history of fighting for animals, people, and the environment through education and campaigns, as well as hands-on rescue facilities in India, South Korea, and rural Mississippi.

The Dark Hobby film is an exposé of the devastation to species and reefs caused by the aquarium trade. Hawaiian elders, conservationists, and scientists file a lawsuit against the state of Hawaii to halt the collection of reef creatures in a fight that goes all the way to the Supreme Court.


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