It’s been a few weeks since the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, called for the removal of the fisherman memorial statue.
This move was met with criticism from those associated with fishing.
“It’s absolutely ridiculous and it’s a slap in the face to those families of people that were lost at sea,” Fishermen’s Marketing Association president Travis Hunter said in a phone call back in September.
Eureka Mayor Kim Bergel released a statement shortly after about working in another way to share their message.
Bergel responded with an open letter stating “by working together, we can find common ground and create positive change. Once again, we appreciate your organization’s dedication to animal welfare and your concern for the well-being of fish.”
“The primary reason for bringing them here is again because we did write about collaborating with them,” Bergel said. “I think it’s really important that when you say something, you keep your commitment.”
Which led to PETA director Ashley Byrne presenting a fish empathy quilt before the eureka city council.
“Mayor Bergel was extremely helpful in working with us to find a way to display our quilt and to educate the public on this other perspective; this other side of things,” Byrne said. “We truly appreciate how gracious and helpful she’s been.”
The quilt is composed of 100 handcrafted squares, focused on raising awareness on fish empathy.
Each square also came with a personal story from the designer, speaking on their own experience moving away from eating fish.
“For instance, we have several quilt squares that were sent in by a member of a Girl Scout Troop in Austin, Texas after they saw a presentation from a former commercial fisherman who had become a vegetarian and after educating them about how fishing harms animals and the environment,” Byrne said.
With the presentation, three quilt panels from the six panel quilt will hang outside of the Council Chambers for the next month.
“We hope that people who view this quilt come away with an increased empathy for fish and understanding of the fact that they are intelligent animals who feel joy, fear and pain just like we do,” Bryne said.
PETA hopes that this collaboration continues with the possibility of creating a future statue made of discarded fishing gear.