Pretty much everyone in the world has eaten fish at some point. Many people have even gone out on the water and caught one themselves.
But we rarely, if ever, develop feelings towards our undersea friends. Fish seem to be the least-respected living food source out there—even certain vegetarians, who swear off every other type of meat, will make an exception for fish.
Why? Maybe because there are just so many in the sea, or they just don’t have very good personalities.
But one restaurant in Italy unexpectedly found themselves taking pity on a fish dinner.
The Cucù restaurant, owned and operated by Riccardo Braghieri, is located in the fishing village of Camogli, Italy. They’re known for their fresh seafood, so when a four-pound grouper was caught in the local waters last Friday, they were ready to serve it up.
But when the grouper made it on to the baking tray, about to be sent to the oven, the staff noticed something unusual about it.
It was still breathing.
The fish was fighting for life, its gills visibly opening and closing:
Cucù Cernia. Alle ore 22,35 la Marta ( così l’abbiamo chiamata) è stata liberata nel mare di Camogli. Si ringrazia il Il Marchese Ottonello che si è bagnato i piedi … Lei ora è in viaggio verso qualche tana.. e noi tutti contenti . Ma senza la sua tenacia e voglia di vivere non ce l’avremmo fatta… e questo vale anche per gli esseri umani. Alcuni lo chiamano miracolo….
Posted by Riccardo Braghieri on Friday, January 12, 2018
The staff had a crisis of conscious, and brought the indomitable fish to Braghieri’s attention.
Sensing the fish’s will to live, the restaurant owner made the final call:
He decided to spare the grouper’s life.
Even if it meant someone wouldn’t get their dinner, it was the right thing to do.
The staff even gave the fish a name: Marta. According to The Local, they named her “after a hen in an Italian comic book series, who is the subject of repeated kidnapping attempts by a wolf, but is always saved thanks to a sheepdog.”
Braghieri’s friend, an amateur angler, happened to be in the restaurant that night. He got his advice, and they decided to set Marta free into her natural habitat, the Camogli sea.
Back in her native waters, Marta began breathing again and got a second chance at life, thanks to her captor’s mercy.
But Braghieri says that Marta really saved herself, by demonstrating a distinctly human-like desire to keep going.
“Without her tenacity and desire to live, we wouldn’t have done it,” he wrote on Facebook.
“Some call it a miracle.”