California mayor rejects PETA request to remove Fisherman’s Memorial Statue

A request from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to replace the Fisherman’s Memorial statue at Woodley Island near Eureka, California with a “Fintastic Fish Sculpture” has been rejected by Eureka Mayor Kim Bergel. Bergel cited the statue’s historical and cultural value to the community. 

The Fisherman’s Memorial, said Bergel in a letter responding to PETA’s request, “pays tribute to the generations of fishermen who have contributed to the development of Eureka and the livelihood of its residents,” reported the Times Standard. The community’s daily newspaper printed the entirety of both PETA’s request to remove the statue on Woodley Island and Bergel’s response.  

In the response, Bergel said the memorial statue would not be removed but they would consider putting PETA’s statue somewhere else in the city. 

“This memorial stands as a symbol of respect for their dedication and sacrifices,” the mayor wrote.  
The mayor noted that wives of the Fishermen’s Marketing Association had funded the memorial statue, in appreciation of contributions and sacrifices made by fishermen in the Eureka area. Bergel also noted that the city does not have authority to remove or change the statue as it does not own it. 

“Replacing it would be seen as a disservice to the memory of those who have played a vital role in our city’s heritage,” said Bergel.  

Still, Bergel said that Eureka is committed to sustainability and the preservation of its natural resources which align with PETA’s goal of promoting humane practices. She offered to work with PETA on a location for its “Fintastic Fish Sculpture,” or other opportunities to promote ethical treatment of animals, such as educational programs on sustainable fishing practices and wildlife conservation, to create positive change. 


PETA President Ingrid Newkirk contends that fishing gear “is a top polluter of the ocean and a leading cause of ‘accidental’ deaths of whales, dolphins, porpoises, and turtles, and wreak havoc on our health.”   

She urged Eureka to “take this opportunity to get ahead of history by removing the ‘Fisherman’ statue, which glorifies the cruel and environmentally deadly fishing industry, from the Woodley Island Marina.” 

Newkirk cited studies that she said show that fish “are smart, sensitive beings who have distinct personalities, learn from one another, can recognize themselves in mirrors – the ‘gold standard’ of animal intelligence – and have better memories than most humans for their age.” 

“They have individual personalities, talk to one another, and experience pleasure and pain, yet more of them are killed for food each year than all other animals combined,” she wrote.  
Newkirk also said that eating fish and other animals is harmful to human health: “We can get everything we need for a healthy vegan diet, including omega-3 fatty acids and protein—without any of the mercury, PCBs, or other toxins found in fish flesh.”