Concern for the welfare of fish species, like that for other animals, is not new. Here are some examples of humane attitudes towards fishes and complex invertebrates found in literature and religion:

Anna of the five towns
Arnold Bennett (1867 – 1931)
In this Edwardian novel the ethics of inhumane treatment of wild-caught fish is raised through the heroine, Anna, who is out fishing with friends more…

First life of St Francis, cc. 61, 77
Thomas of Celano (c 1200 – c 1265)
This earliest biography of Saint Francis, based on the testimony of Francis’ close companions, describes his fatherly affection not only towards people but also towards dumb and wild animals including fish. It tells a story in which Saint Francis takes pity on a captured fish and returns him to the lake more…

Hsin yeh-fe shih
Tu Fu (712 – 770)

“I see shining fish struggling within tight nets, while I hear orioles singing carefree tunes. Even trivial creatures know the difference between freedom and bondage. Sympathy and compassion should be but natural to the human heart.”
Taken from The Extended Circle, ed. Jon Wynne-Tyson 1985 1st edition.

Sea and Sardinia
D H Lawrence (1885 – 1930)

“An inkpot…is a polyp, a little octopus which, alas, frequents the Mediterranean and squirts ink if offended…Alessandro caught inkpots: and like this. He tied up a female by a string…through a convenient hole in her end…When Alessandro went a-fishing, he towed her, like a poodle, behind. And thus, like a poodly-bitch, she attracted hangers-on in the briny seas. And these poor polyp inamorati were the victims. They were lifted as prey aboard, where I looked with horror on their grey, translucent tentacles and large, cold, stony eyes. The she-polyp was towed behind again. But after a few days she died. And I think, even for creatures so awful-looking, this method is indescribably base, and shows how much lower than an octopus even is lordly man.”
Taken from The Extended Circle, ed. Jon Wynne-Tyson 1985 1st edition.