Fear Of Fish


You are aware that a meal consisting of fish is healthy for you as it is full of essential nutrients, protein, and critical fatty acids that are vital for the functioning of your brain and hormones. However, many people cannot stand the idea of eating fish, let alone being around them. Some people have an allergy to seafood which includes all types of fish. Others simply do not like the taste. However, others have a phobia of fish known as ichthyophobia.

People with ichthyophobia would not even dream of trying a bite of fish to eat. Let’s talk more about the fear of fish or ichthyophobia.

What Is The Fear Of Fish?

Before going into the specifics of fear of fish, let’s talk more about the difference between fear and a phobia. A fear of something is indicative of naturally keeping away from stimuli that can present danger. For instance, it is natural to fear bees because they can sting you if they land on you – only if they feel threatened. However, your immediate response to a bee’s presence is to run away from it since it can cause you to harm by stinging you. That is a fear. A phobia, however, is an extreme form of fear to the point it consumes you and causes you plenty of anxiety.

Therefore, using that example of fear of bees is expected as the fear indicates that danger is present. However, if you have a phobia of bees, the idea of encountering a bee consumes you, and you experience anxiety around that. You may worry about facing a bee in the middle of winter or at a time when it is not bee season. If the phobia is severe, then you would do anything possible to avoid encountering the stimuli.

Therefore, having a legitimate fear of fish can only present itself when encountering fish in the sea that can bite. Consequently, you would avoid swimming in the area of the sea where there is fish present. However, a phobia of fish is when the idea of being around fish frightens you to the point that you must avoid any risk of encountering fish.

Phobias usually stem from traumatic events happening during childhood, as the individual would associate trauma with the cause of the stimuli trigger. Those who have a phobia of fish or ichthyophobia likely had a traumatic experience involving fish at a young age.

Ichthyophobia presents itself in a way where the individual is terrified to eat fish, but to see fish, whether the fish is raw in the kitchen, alive in a fish tank or a pond, or showing up dead in a body of water. If you are fearful of sharks but not fearful of fish to the point that not only would you never try eating shark meat, but you cannot look at sharks, that is not ichthyophobia. The fear of sharks is known to be galeophobia which is never different from ichthyophobia.

Ichthyophobia can present itself in different ways. You may have the phobia of fish mildly where you have no problem with seeing fish in a fish tank, but you are phobic of seeing dead fish or a meal involving fish. Or, the phobia may present itself in an opposite way where you would be comfortable with eating salmon, halibut, tilapia, trout, tuna, and so on. Still, it cannot handle seeing them alive swimming in water. Ichthyophobia can also cause a sufferer to avoid a pond or a lake because of the idea of encountering fish or to a seafood restaurant. The phobia presents itself differently in sufferers.

However, here is the situation. If you want to become a chef or a cook or attempt to cook fish at home, you will need to work with a therapist before you do any of that if you happen to have ichthyophobia. Let’s now talk further about how to overcome your fear of fish.

How To Overcome A Fish Phobia When It Involves Cooking

As I initially stated, if you have a debilitating phobia of fish and want to attempt to cook fish at home or become a chef or a cook, you need to find the right therapist who can help you work through it. If you are at a stage where you are ready to take the next step after working through the phobia, I can help you. The same goes for if you have a mild phobia of fish and want to cook it but don’t know how to do so.

There are critical steps to take when it comes to overcoming a fear of fish while cooking it. The first thing is you will want to cook familiar fish such as:

  • Salmon
  • Trout
  • Sea bass
  • Halibut
  • Haddock
  • Grouper
  • Swordfish
  • Tuna
  • Catfish

Or any fish that you know. Do not buy unknown fish, and you want to make sure that the fish you buy comes from a clean and reputable supermarket with the expiry date far away. Before you order the fish at the fish counter at the supermarket, ask a few things. Ask where the fish came from and how long it has been out.

Here are some other facts to know that may help you warm up to the idea of cooking fish. Firstly, fish is straightforward and quick to cook. It takes little time to cook the flesh. Secondly, the fish is clean. It is more hygienic than chicken. You still need to wash it, but it is immaculate, considering it comes from the ocean.

If you cannot stand the touch of raw fish, then you will want to consider wearing rubber gloves.

The best thing to do is to start small. Get yourself a small piece of a well-known piece of fish from a reputable source. Wash it up, cook it, and spice it the way you want. You can find simple fish recipes too. Then try it after cooking it, and find out how you like it. If you have a positive experience with it, it will help you overcome the fish phobia quicker.


Do you want to become a chef, a cook, or cook more at home but have a fear of fish? You are not alone. Depending on how badly affected you are by the phobia of fish or ichthyophobia, you will have to take some steps to overcome your fear of fish. If you need to get therapy to help you overcome the phobia, that is the best thing you can do. When you are ready, there are additional steps to take to help you become more comfortable with cooking fish, let alone being around fish. That is the best thing to do because fish is full of essential nutrients, fats, proteins that will help you in every way possible.