April 10, 2020

First World Aquatic Animal Day A Success!

In this blog, students in the Animal Law Clinic report on the successful launch of the first annual World Aquatic Animal Day, held on April 3, 2020.
  • A seal, one of the many aquatic animals celebrated on World Aquatic Animal Day.

By: Students in the Animal Law Clinic

World Aquatic Animal Day was successfully launched for the first time on April 3, 2020, as a project of the Aquatic Animal Law Initiative (AALI) and the Animal Law Clinic at Lewis & Clark Law School. The goal of this annual event is to raise global awareness about these often-forgotten nonhuman animals through law, policy, education, advocacy, and good stewardship of the earth. Due to the global pandemic, this year’s aquaculture-focused events were all conducted virtually.

Information and resources prepared by the Animal Law Clinic reached people around the globe! Working with its community partners, Chelsea V. Davis and Veggies Do it Better, World Aquatic Animal Day offered pre-recorded as well as live presentations, resource materials, information about alternatives to seafood, cooking demonstrations, and a remote documentary watch party. These resources are available on the Animal Law Clinic’s website, as well as on the Facebook event pages of the Center for Animal Law Studies and Veggies Do it Better. This information is designed to help people learn more about aquatic animals and how we can help them. In addition to the website and Facebook event pages, people also participated via Twitter and Instagram and some organizations hosted their own events.

Individuals and organizations from around the world participated in World Aquatic Day and shared our resources, including groups in Australia, Chile, the United Kingdom, Canada, Kazakhstan, South Africa, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Croatia, Russia, Norway, Switzerland, and more!

Iyan Offer, PhD Candidate at Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law & Governance and Visiting CALS International Scholar said, “Brilliant set of resources and I’m really glad you could make the day happen in some capacity! Thanks for giving me something else to think about!”

The students of the Animal Law Clinic at Lewis & Clark worked hard to make this day happen and shifted quickly to transition to a virtual launch. Those students include Caitlin Skurky (’21), Zihao Yu (LLM ’20), Diego F. Plaza (LLM ’20), Lyudmila Shegay (LLM ’20), Bianka Atlas (LLM ’20), Theresa Trillo (’21), Madison Steffey (’20), Christina Lee (LLM ’20) as well as Research Assistant, Alyssa Sander (’20). Additionally, we built on and utilized the work of former clinic students, including Hannah Fields (’18), Rodah Ogoma (’18) and Winnie Onkoba (’19), and Rebecca Jenkins (’16), the former Aquatic Animal Law Initiative Fellow. Students worked with, and under the supervision of, Amy P. Wilson current Aquatic Animal Law Initiative Fellow (LLM’18) and Professor Kathy Hessler. Special thanks go to Amy P. Wilson, who developed the idea for this day!

We appreciate the participation and effort that so many organizations and individuals devoted to the event this year. We are already looking forward to next year’s World Aquatic Animal Day! The 2021 theme is “The Impact of Human Activities on Aquatic Animals.” For more information, continue to check our website, WorldAquaticAnimalDay and follow the hashtag #worldaquaticanimalday.

We are extremely thankful to everyone who participated and shared our resources, made their own materials, or hosted their own events! The work that was done to raise awareness about these important animals was phenomenal, and is only just beginning! Though we can’t list everyone who participated, we offer just a few examples here:

  • Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) shared an episode of their podcast, “The Exam Room” on Facebook, answering questions about whether science supports claims that fish are a healthy food source. PCRM also participated on Twitter and shared their work regarding cephalopods used in research.
  • Animal Equality made a video on Facebook and created a webpage to share information supporting their call for people to stop eating fish - including that fish feel pain, fish have emotions, and the seafood industry is causing significant damage to the planet.
  • Food Empowerment Project published a post on Facebook addressing the link between fishing and marine pollution, and urged people to stop eating fish in order to save the aquatic environment and aquatic animals. They also shared the day on Instagram and Twitter.
  • Mark Hawthorne, the Author of “Striking at the Roots,” “A Vegan Ethic,” and “Bleating Hearts,” wrote a blog about the event and tweeted that World Aquatic Animal Day is “a day to both celebrate and help the public understand more about these often-forgotten non-human animals who live in or near water.”