অটোয়া, বুধবার ১৯ জুন, ২০২৪
Fishing ethics for catch-and-release: difference between Ethics, Morality and the Law

Zakir Uddin: No doubt, recreational fishing is legal in almost all countries, including Canada. However, Animal Protection Act in Germany prohibited the catch and release of fish for personal amusement. Fishing originally had the unique purpose of providing our food, nowadays in Canada it is a popular entertainment and amusement sports activity, where the fun is in the sole foreground (e.g. release the fish after taking a picture). The key point of this article is not about fishing for our source of food, but about playing with fish dangerously just for recreational or amusement purposes (i.e. catch and release, specifically after hooked injury). The goal of this article is to focus on the violation of ethical norms despite this type of legal amusement activity, which looks morally sound and protected by the law. Since most people mixed up morality with ethics and commonly think laws are made with ethics. I would request readers to enjoy this 5 minutes video (available at, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xki2fRA0bY8) to understand the difference between Ethics, Morality and the Law.

Hooked fishing violates two fundamental layers of ethical norms. First, exploitation of the natural instincts of fish. People invite fish by a deceptive alluring (entrapment) technique, using the supreme primitive biological demand of any kind of animal or organism, the food lure trick. Second, the negligence of immediate and prolonged stress and pain experienced by fish during and after being hooked. Humans brutally traumatize fishes by sharp hook injuries on the sensitive part of their body (e.g. mouth, face, near the head area). Hooked fishes have no choice except enduring extreme pain and stress from this type of terror attacks. Moreover, fish start to suffocate after removing from their natural environment, which is comparable to horrible feeling of human experience if trapped underwater. Frequently, fish’s gills collapse and swim bladders rupture due to sudden changes in pressure. This type of traumatic terrorist attack and entrapment type of master planning behind hooking art is just for human amusement, not for basic food or not even for enough source of protein diet. After this hook injury, people release fish into the water assuming showing kindness to the fish lifesaving. The reality is most fishes die and suffer a lot for their survival with severe physiological distress. "Research indicates that over 40% of fish die within a week of being thrown back in the water, and many fishes are vulnerable to predators."

Still, people around the globe are debating whether this catch and release of fish really hurt fish and whether is it ethically wrong? Despite ongoing global debates about the impact of catch-and-release fishing on fish, the evidence presented here sheds light on the ethical issues involved. The trauma inflicted on fish through deceptive allure, sharp hook injuries, and the stress of being removed from their natural environment raises questions about the morality of this recreational activity. I hope readers are now can judge and think rationally whether it is ethically right or wrong and how it hurts fish. Why need to torture animals for “fun” when there is availability of so many other wonderful outdoor activities in beautiful nature? Please encourage every fishing amuser to try walking, running, hiking, camping, or canoeing, or instead of catch-and-release fishing. Why not promoting a more compassionate approach to enjoying the beauty of nature? Catch-and-release is aimed at personal entertainment and amusement, therefore, it is animal cruelty and not a hobby. It is time to rethink recreational choices for the betterment of animal welfare, since ethical concerns surrounding catch-and-release fishing. 

Photo from https://forums.ybw.com/threads/can-anyone-share-a-photo-of-a-fishing-hook-in-their-hand-or-finger.603678/

Zakir Uddin, PhD (McMaster), PDF (McGill)
Ottawa, ON. Canada 
Email: uddinz2@mcmaster.ca