Billions of fish die every year in nets and on hooks. Some are destined for human consumption, many are tortured just for “sport” and others are unintended victims who are maimed or killed simply because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
When fish are yanked from the water, they begin to suffocate. Their gills often collapse, and their swim bladders can rupture because of the sudden change in pressure. Numerous scientific reports from around the world confirm that fish feel pain. Researchers from the University of Edinburgh and the University of Glasgow studied the pain receptors in fish and found that they were strikingly similar to those of mammals; the researchers concluded that “fish do have the capacity for pain perception and suffering”.
Fish who are released after being caught can suffer from oxygen depletion, damage to their delicate fins and mouths, a dangerous build-up of lactic acid in their muscles and loss of their protective scale coating, leaving them vulnerable to disease. Researchers at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation in the US found that up to 43 per cent of fish released after being caught died within six days.
Fishing is no fun for those on the other end of the line. Before you support a “wildlife” or “conservation” group, ask about its position on fishing. Some groups either support or do not oppose sport fishing.