Two recent news stories about the sea have been the resumption of whaling and the wastage of cod. Both were referenced in last Tuesday's musing/raving by a well known astronomer, physicist, guitar-maker, animal-rights activist and rock legend.
I share his disgust regarding the slaughter of whales. There is no scientific research that justifies it. Whales seem to have an intelligence, a compassion and a "conscience" that corresponds to that shown in many human societies. The care and attention that they show for society members, as with humans, goes way beyond personal survival. Weaker animals who would never survive alone are nurtured and defended by others. Youngsters are taught, praised and punished. They develop customs over time and over generations. And those who have lost family members can behave with what appears to be genuine grief.
But cod are completely different. There are various technical definitions of pain, but I would expect extreme stimulation of nerves to elicit withdrawal responses in any animal. Yet fish generally do not care for their colleagues or even for their offspring, although those species that have survived evolution tend to be those who tend not to eat their own, whether by migration or instinct. An individual fish seems to have little objective in life except to reproduce.
Dr Brian May remains an icon, my all time guitar hero. I am sure he knows the difference between a fish and a whale. Only an ignoramus could confuse the two.