For time out of mind people have used the scathing expression, "as cold as a fish," to describe someone who is emotionally deficit or a tad lacking when it comes to the complex subtleties and nuances of human interaction,
Likewise, when something "smells a bit fishy" it usually means that the 'something' in question is a bit suspect, a bit odd, slightly queer, vaguely strange, and somewhat sinister.
In short, our scaly friends have never been popular metaphors to describe all that we hold dear when it comes to intrepidly exploring the entire gamut of human emotions.
Traits we associate as typically belonging to us caring and sharing warm-blooded mammals, such as compassion, empathy, regret, fear, and love, are a million miles from our minds when we're slowly reeling in one of those unfeeling and scaly monsters on a pleasant Summer's day.
As the fish tosses and turns, and writhes in a blind panic on the end of our lines, we drag the whopper from its natural element on a viciously barbed hook with all the compassion and heartbreaking pity of a particularly playful psychopath in party mode.
And why? "Because fish ain't gone and got no feelings Mr bleeding heart! Everyone and there momma knows that."
Well think again! It's Official! Fish have feelings too!
Recent research points to fish not only having the capacity to feel pain, but to feel pain, wait for it, just like humans.
Flying in the face of popular opinion like, it has to be said, a flying fish, Associate Professor Culum Brown of Macquarie University in Australia, believes fish not only have a highly-developed capacity for pain and feeling, but they have damned fine memories and exhibit the same sort of behavior associated with primates.
Professor Brown said: "The primary senses of the fish are just as good and in some cases better than humans."
Fish are also said to show strong signs of Machiavellian intelligence. Which in case you're confused means they live in very complex societies where they keep track and learn from one another. As such, cooperation and reconciliation are commonplace in the fish kingdom. If you want solid gold proof, just ask Nemo!
Nirvana's Kurt Cobain once sung: "It's OK to eat fish because they don't have any feelings." Well not any more, and following this new research Professor Brown believe fish welfare in general is due for a massive overhaul.
Professor Brown said:
"Although scientists cannot provide a definitive answer on the level of consciousness for any non-human vertebrate, the extensive evidence of fish behavioral and cognitive sophistication and pain perception suggests that best practice would be to lend fish the same level of protection as any other vertebrate. We should therefore include fish in our 'moral circle' and afford them the protection they deserve."Now where did I put my rod?