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Is catch and release fishing any more ethically defensible than kill it and grill it?

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  • Is catch and release fishing any more ethically defensible than kill it and grill it?

    Is catch and release fishing any more ethically defensible than kill it and grill it?

  • #2
    It depends if you are in an area or catching a fish that is catch and release. If you need to provide for a family well then it doesn't hurt to grill a few.

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    • #3
      I struggle with this question all the time. I am basically forcing an animal to struggle for its life for my own pleasure? I don't think fish feel pain like the PETA nuts say but I do know that I have injured fish and let them go hoping they would live or knowing they would be blind in one eye. I definitely am not ready to stop fishing, it is a passion that consumes a tremendous amount of my time and energy and brings me a huge amount of pleasure. But there is always the lurking question of whether it is better to catch and kill and eat, stopping when I have enough for a meal, or release and fish all day. It usually comes up when I hurt a fish and still let it go.

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      • #4
        I watch "catch and release" bass fisherman pull bass off their nests, boat them, then release them all the time in the early spring. Meanwhile the bluegills, etc. loot the unprotected nest.
        Maybe I'm wrong, but when I fish,or hunt, its to catch and use the creature. Otherwise I'm content to leave them be.

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        • #5
          kill n' grill (I love that term) needs no ethical defense at all. Neither does hunting when you eat the meat.

          It is a pure and simple fact of life that some living things must die in order for other livings things to live. This is a universal truth. Whether you are a vegetarian eating a salad, a couch potato eating a big mac, or a fishermen grilling up some trout, something died to give you meal.

          Whether you hunt / fish for your meal or buy your steak / fillet at the grocery store, either way something died so that you can eat. If anything the hunting / fishing method is more ethical since you are more connected to the animal that died for you. Most people don't have any connection with the cow that their cheeseburger came from. Therefore, they can't be aware of the sacrifice that allowed them to eat.

          The urbanite fly fishermen who catch and release because they don't want to kill the fish, and then drive to a restaurant and order a trout fillet on a rice pilaf are hypocrites in the first degree! A trout was still killed for their meal, they just didn't have to witness its death.

          All that being said, the "ethical" advantage of catch and release comes from a sporting sense. Catch and release can certainly help maintain populations of trophy fish. Also, there is something to be said for being a big enough man to let another angler have a chance to catch that trophy fish.

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          • #6
            I don't catch and release for anyone else. Sometimes I go fishing with no intent of keeping anything I catch. Other times I'm planning on trying to wrangle in enough for a fish dinner for me and some buddies or the wife and kids. My fish is the best fish I've ever had. Either way I'm enjoying a day on the water relaxing and doing what I want to do.

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            • #7
              I am usually intent on catching dinner when i go fishing. If i catch a surplus or too few, i let'm go. I do this in hopes of catching them another day, for another meal. I do get a moral satisfaction when i do so, provided i believe the fish will survive. The idea that i am helping sustain the fishery, or that another sportsman can enjoy the released fish is nice, but not always true. Occassionally i will go bass fishing just for fun, and i strongly believe most fish i catch and release survive, but i'm sure some don't. This is unfortunate, and i feel bad when/if i needlessly kill any wildlife, including pests and fish. Will i stop doing it? Probably not,but i do try to keep it to a minimum.

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              • #8
                Ethically little difference as long as the species in question are not being over exploited. Catch and release has proven a success with many species but if the local law says you can grillit then by all means do so. Are people who claim moral high ground because they only C&R idiots? I think so. But the same goes for people who want to keep everything regardless of what the law or what they can use may be.
                My favorite line from dealing with people is "We used to catch them by the bushel basket load. Not so much anymore." As if one did not lead to the other.

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                • #9
                  Sorry folks, I catch and release quite a bit. I love to fish and have the misfortune of living in a big metropolitan area. I have had neighborhood ponds cleaned out completely within a few days of people seeing me catch fish there. It doesn't take long to decimate a pond or even a big lake when hundreds of people pound it. As I watch them turn the pond sterile, I feel that each of them is only thinking of themselves and once the pond is dead, they go back to watching television rather than fishing. I wish I liked watching television more, then I wouldn't feel so bad about all these sterile ponds. We also have many mountain streams around the city with limited quantities of trout. We could wipe those out too. However, when I fish in the wilderness, I don't mind harvesting a safe number of fish as long as I know I am not wiping out the species. Those of you who live in the wilderness where you can safely harvest what you catch should count your blessings.

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                  • #10
                    DakotaMan-

                    That is exactly what I was getting at in the last paragraph of my post.

                    I just had a little bit less urban

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                    • #11
                      DakotaMan, thank you for providing a summary of the conditions many of us fish in. I live in a very similar situation and practice a very similar regime.
                      For a variety of reasons, limited space to clean fish and dispose of the remains, heavily pressured lakes in the urban/suburban area where I do most of my fishing and uncertainty about the levels of contaminants in these waters I practice catch and release fishing.
                      Up north at the cabin and in the wilderness I happily practice kill and grill.
                      I agree with ken.mcloud that there is no defense needed for harvesting game and eating it. In fact, in my opinion, it is unlike the
                      hypocritical people who, in the words of the Nuge, "Hire paid assassins to do their dirty work for them."
                      The real direction of my question was to start a dialogue about whether catch and release fishing, which involves potentially harming animals purely for pleasure, is ethically defensible since it is, ironically, often touted as a less cruel practice than kill and grill.
                      When in fact, if the definition of cruelty is to cause pain for pleasure, it is perhaps truly a cruel practice vs capture and harvest for food.
                      I definitely am not ready to stop, 'cause I'm not sure if I could confine myself to situations where I only fish and harvest. It is so much a part of my life! I have, however, been reading some philosophy lately that has forced me to examine some parts of my behavior and I was wondering if others had ever had the same doubts.

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                      • #12
                        Agreed with DakotaMan and + 1 for you sir!!!

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