Animal Rights Uncompromised: Catch-and-Release Fishing
Catch-and-release fishing is cruelty disguised as “sport.” Studies show that fish who are caught and then returned to the water suffer such severe physiological stress that they often die of shock. Fish often swallow hooks, and anglers may try to retrieve a hook by shoving their fingers or pliers down the fish’s throat, ripping out not just the hook but some of the fish’s throat and guts as well. When fish are handled, the protective coating on their bodies is disturbed. These and other injuries make fish easy targets for predators once they are returned to the water.
Fish feel pain because, like all animals, they have nerves. Hooked fish struggle out of fear and physical pain, desperate to breathe. Once fish are hauled out of their aqueous environment and into ours, they begin to suffocate, and their gills often collapse. In commercial fishing, fish’s swim bladders can rupture because of the sudden change in pressure.
Angling hurts other animals too. Every year, anglers leave behind a trail of tackle victims that includes millions of birds, turtles, and other animals who suffer debilitating injuries after they swallow fishhooks or become entangled in fishing line. Wildlife rehabilitators say that discarded fishing tackle is one of the greatest threats to aquatic animals.
Fishing is far from a harmless pastime. Please encourage anglers to ditch their poles and try alternative activities, such as hiking, camping, and canoeing.