Here I develop an ontology of aquarium fish that articulates the relationships that many fishkeepers hold with their fish and considers how these relationships generate moral responsibilities. The investigation explores the norms already regulating hobbyist discourse and practice, charting the values that are cited to justify recommendations and restrictions and demonstrating how morally responsible fishkeeping participates in a particular moral ontology. Principally I aim to show that the subject of moral consideration in fishkeeping is rarely the individual fish and only sometimes the fish species, but paradigmatically the “community tank.” In getting fish, one has responsibilities to pair compatible species and create a community. From that point onward, having fish is a matter of caring for that community, keeping fish a matter of sustaining the ecological relations that bind the community.
"Netting Nemo: A Moral Ontology for the Scaled and Slimy,"
Between the Species:
1, Article 4.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/bts/vol24/iss1/4