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There are plenty more fish jokes in the sea

by Amy Chavez

The Go Fish! Foundation is an international organization for the protection of fish, their parents, family and friends. Go Fish! rescues, rehabilitates and gives sanctuary to fish in need.

Our services include protection of species, sheltering in state-of-the-art aquariums and access to secret spawning grounds. We are a nonprofit organization opposed to mass commercial fishing, trawling, drift-net fishing, overfishing, dolphin slaughters and whaling. We promote aquaculture, sea grass-fed fish and limited commercial aquariums and dolphin shows for educational purposes. We support background checks for spear gun purchases and encourage responsible catch and release behavior. In addition, we re-home fish that have been abandoned in home aquariums, ponds and fishbowls and occasionally take in rescues from the sushi shops.

The Go Fish! Foundation is based out of a small island in the Seto Inland Sea. We have a lighthouse at the entrance to the port that is a replica of the Statue of Liberty except that instead of a torch, the female goddess figure holds an outstretched arm. From her hand she has released a fish which is shown diving into the sea of freedom. The lighthouse bears the following inscription at the bottom of the pillar:

Give me your huddled masses of koi fish in ponds;

The wretched goldfish of your teeming night markets,

Send these, the lured and netted,

Seafood appetizers and salad-tossed,

Send me your baiters, guppies, and snappers bound for the dinner plate.

I lift my arm beside the golden sea!

Once on our island, you may tour the Go Fish! facilities.

1. Observation tanks

Browse our aquariums at any time but flash photos are prohibited as they can scare the fish. Please do not take any sharp or pointy objects into the observation rooms. Out of respect for the fish, the following items are strictly forbidden: pocket knives, hooks of any sort, ice picks, bamboo poles, fishing line, fishing attire and accessories such as vests, beer coolers and small fold-up camping chairs.

2. Petting zoo

The aquatic petting zoo is open for fish cuddling or simply swimming with the fish. Come show them some love. You may buy handfuls of seaweed sprinkles to feed the fish. We aim to have happy, dancing fish.

3. Secret spawning grounds

These grounds are temporarily off-limits to the public. The spawning grounds provide a private place where fish are free to go about their daily activities free of voyeurs, media and skeptics in the hopes that they will repopulate the seas. With the plunge in fish stocks, we are counting on these fish to help recover fish populations. We choose mature, adult fish who are experiencing empty net syndrome and are keen on having another chance at spawning. The spawning grounds will reopen after an initial incubation period and evidence of successful spawning. This project is sponsored in part by the Make-a-Fish Foundation.

4. The rescues

We have several fish on display who have been rescued. You may feed, pet or talk to them.

Nemo was found neglected and starving at the bottom of his fish tank after his 10-year-old owner forgot about him while on a school trip to Tokyo Disneyland. Several times we mistook him for a limp piece of seaweed, and thus brought up nothing on an initial scrape of the net through the tank. When the net finally lifted Nemo out of the bottom of the filthy scum-lined aquarium, he was gasping and on his last flop. We then gave him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and after throwing some fresh seawater on his face, he regained consciousness. But he continued to list to one side even after we transferred him to a rescue tank. The next day, however, he was swimming around with no problems. These days he enjoys karaoke and a good stiff drink at happy hour.

Victims of tsunamis: One tsunami can displace hundreds of millions of fish all at once. Our volunteer staff has been busy since 2011 documenting and categorizing such fish. Adoptions have not been possible as we feel the fish are better off staying with their own schools rather than starting all over in a completely new family bowl. Most of these creatures will soon be released back into their native aquatic habitats.

Saved from sashimi: This is a growing collection of fish who have been rescued from the chopping block and are now living in protected tanks. They will likely never leave the safety of these tanks, to ensure they live out a happy, retired life with dignity and unlimited rounds of golf.

5. Educational displays

Take the kids to watch a short video in the “Bluefin Tuna” room, order an empty bowl of shark-fin soup in the “Save the Sharks” room or show your love in the “Cuddle an Octopus” room.

We’re sure that after visiting our facilities, you’ll be so impressed, you’ll want to help the Go Fish! Foundation. Here’s what you can do:

Become a “Friend of the Species”: For a small annual fee you can become a Friend of the Species and help a fish live a full life at the Go Fish! Foundation. Your membership will help feed, clothe and shelter your sponsored fish. In addition, a percentage of your fees will go to help maintain the golf course, build schools and sponsor Buddhist ceremonies to pray for the millions of aquatic souls that are eaten and digested every day. One small donation will contribute to hoji ceremonies for tuna, octopus, squid, and thousands of other types of fish for the next 50 years.

Volunteer: You can volunteer to make a positive difference in our Foster Fish program or adopt from our re-homing projects. We also accept volunteers for the Koi Fish Pond Rescue program and are in need of volunteer acupuncturists, masseuses, aqua therapists and ichthyologists.

Donate: We accept donations of supplies. Some items always in demand are: fish defibrillators, surgery room humidifiers, aquatic wheelchairs, prosthetic fins and stainless steel aquarium furniture. Please note that we have no use for aquatic vertebrate neck braces nor piscine chairs. Piscine chaise lounge chairs or sofas are preferred.

Thank you for helping the Go Fish! Foundation hold to its principles of compassion for fish, loving-kindness, vegetarianism and environmental sustainability.

And remember, always be kind to fish.