Sea kitten and chips, filet-o-sea kitten and sea kitten fingers would replace fishier dish names on restaurant menus, under proposals from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
The rebranding is aimed at altering the "slithery and slimy" public image of fish, by highlighting their similarities to cuter, more popular animals.
Like cats and dogs, fish are capable of showing physical affection, feel pain, and grieve when their companions die, Peta claims.
"If everyone started calling fish 'sea kittens,' they'd be a lot less likely to violently kill them for food, painfully hook them for 'sport,' or cruelly confine them to aquariums," a spokeswoman said.
"When your name can also be used as a verb that means driving a hook through your head, it's time for a serious image makeover," Peta said in a statement.
The campaign, which is aimed primarily at children, includes a series of sea kitten bedtime stories, and computer software that allows young people to design their own sea kittens.
Peta has also launched a petition calling for the US Fish and Wildlife Service to abandon its backing for sea kitten hunting - or fishing, as it is more commonly known.
The animal rights group is known for its attention-grabbing and frequently controversial campaigns. Its supermodel-fronted anti-fur protests have been widely hailed, but it has been criticised for comparing factory farming to the Holocaust.