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I stole this from another board. Its rather frightening that this was published in mainstream media. I'm pretty much 100% C&R, so I guess I'm apart of the "cruelity."

JEFF JACOBY THE BOSTON GLOBE
Fishing for sport is cruel, inhumane

May 13, 2003

I'm not a vegetarian. I eat poultry, fish, and fowl. I don't oppose experimenting on animals when necessary for medical research. I like zoos. I have no moral objection to wearing fur or leather. I think it's OK to keep pet dogs on a leash and birds in a cage. And I am no supporter of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) or its fanatic agenda.

But I do think sport fishing is cruel.

By sport fishing I mean catch-and-release fishing - fishing for fun and adventure, not for food.

I have no quarrel with the man who takes a salmon or trout out of the water and eats it for dinner, even if he greatly enjoys the taking. What appalls me is fishing for its own sake. I don't doubt that it can be thrilling to drag a fish through the water by a barbed hook in its mouth, or that there is pleasure in making it struggle frantically, or that it is exciting to force a wild creature to exhaust itself in a desperate effort to get free. I don't deny the allure of it all. But finding gratification in the suffering of another isn't sport. It's sadism.

One of PETA's billboards shows a dog with a hook through its lip, and asks: "If you wouldn't do this to a dog, why do it to a fish?" PETA's analogies are frequently tasteless and morally repugnant, but this one is exactly right. No one would throw Fido a Milk-Bone with a hook hidden inside and then, when the barb had pierced his mouth and he was trying violently to shake it loose, drag him to a place where he couldn't breathe. Anyone who did such a thing would be condemned for his brutality. Is it any less brutal to do it to a fish?

Writing a few years ago in Orion, a magazine about nature and culture, essayist and avid outdoorsman Ted Kerasote opened a piece about the ethics of catch-and-release fishing with a quote from a fellow outdoorsman, "the philosopher, mountaineer, and former angler Jack Turner."

"Imagine using worms and flies to catch mountain bluebirds or pine grosbeaks," Turner told him, "or maybe eagles and ospreys, and hauling them around on 50 feet of line while they tried to get away. Then when you landed them, you'd release them. No one would tolerate that sort of thing with birds. But we will for fish because they're underwater and out of sight."

I can hear the indignant reply of countless anglers: Fish are different. Unlike dogs and birds and other advanced animals, fish don't feel pain. The hook doesn't hurt them.

But there is mounting evidence that fish do feel pain.

A team of biologists at Edinburgh's Roslin Institute make the case in a paper just published by the Royal Society, one of Britain's leading scientific institutes. Their experiments with rainbow trout prove the presence of pain receptors in fish, and show that fish undergoing a "potentially painful experience" react with "profound behavioral and physiological changes . . . comparable to those observed in higher mammals."

Other studies have demonstrated the marked responses of fish to painful conditions, from rapid respiration to color changes to the secretion of stress hormones.

Does this mean that a fish feels pain in just the way we do, or that its small brain can "understand" the painful event? No. It does mean that the ordeal of being hooked through the mouth, yanked at the end of a fishing line, and prevented from breathing each time its body leaves the water is intensely unpleasant and distressing. To put a fish through that ordeal in order to eat fresh fish is one thing. But to do it for fun?

Anglers tell themselves that catch-and-release fishing is more humane and nature-friendly than catching fish and killing them. That strikes me as a conscience-salving fib. Hurting an animal for enjoyment is never nature-friendly, even if the animal doesn't die. Sport fishing is clearly more cruel than hunting. Hunters don't torment their prey or force it to engage in frenzied combat. They aim to kill the animal, as quickly and painlessly as possible. But how many sport fishermen want a quick kill? Where's the excitement in that?

"We angle because we like the fight," Kerasote writes. "Otherwise all of us would be using hookless (flies) and not one angler in 10,000 does. The hook allows us to control and exert power over fish, over one of the most beautiful and seductive forms of nature, and then, because we're nice to the fish, releasing them 'unharmed,' we can receive both psychic dispensation and blessing. Needless to say, if you think about this relationship carefully, it's not a comforting one, for it is a game of dominance followed by cathartic pardons, which . . . is one of the hallmarks of an abusive relationship."

I'm not blind to the beauty of fishing, to the peace many find in it, to the connection it affords to the water and the surrounding landscape. But any sport that depends for its enjoyability on forcing an animal to fight for its life is wrong. Wrong for what it does to the fish. Even more wrong for what it does to the fisher.

Jacoby can be reached via e-mail at [email protected].
 
G

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Wow... sounds like an ellaborate contradiction in progress (or regress) to me.

Flyfishers have probably done more to influence the widespread well-being of the fish they love to occasionally meet and the health of the environment that surrounds these creatures as anybody. I am confident that people's better senses will bury this little outburst in the anals of e-junk long ago forgotten.

Please...
And thanks for the real awareness, C-dub.
If I see a "Hook-In" I'll be sure and ask if there are barbs on those things and if not, why not. Friggin' extremists...

:smokin
 

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This is the classic dis-connect between those that "use" a "resource" (i.e fishermen) and know/love it, and those folk who have no idea how to interact with nature. It is impossible to protect and enjoy the natural world, by refusing to interact with it. Just like DU and duck hunters have done more for waterfowl than almost any single group in history, recreational fishers do more than any other interest to protect fish and their habitats. Pain and suffering are a part of life! I sure wish I never had to suffer any indignations at the hands of humans- hell I sure feel pain! :beathead
 

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Mother Nature's Son
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I think it's understandable that some people would feel this way. I think most of us have witnessed what he has described. Once, whil in Alaska, I watched 2 guys fishing from a bridge, nearly 20 feet above a river, as they continued to snag Pink Salmon with treble hooks. The fish were hauled up the 20 feet and then pulled from the hooks. It was pretty gruesome. My wife and I had some words with these guys and they left.

That said, even with proper catch and release, many c&r'd fish do end up dieing. Some estimate that a minimum of 10% of all fish caught die. However, 100% of fish wacked over the skull with a rock die so we have to make somewhat of a choice.

It seems that humans, or a least some population of humans, have an inate desire to continue to hunt and/or fish. Fishing is the one sport that at least allows the release of fish relatively unharmed. Using barbless hooks, and taking extreme measures to release the fish unharmed improve the odds of survival.

Having been an avid hunter, although I don't hunt much anymore, I still recognize that you can't take the bullets out of an animal and expect it to live so in many ways, fishing at least provides an opportunity to hunt with minimal damage to the populations.

check out
http://www.fisheries.nsw.gov.au/science/projects/maximising_survival.htm

and
http://www.asf.ca/release/science2.html

I will add that I don't believe that fly fishing, especially c&r fly fishing, comes anywhere near as cruel as animal testing. I used to work at an aviary and so it was my job to go to the lab at the university where we were given the animals that had expired from testing to be fed to the various carnivorous birds at the aviary. I've seen some gruesome things.

With many fish populations in jeopardy, my fear is losing the opportunities that we have to continue to fish, although I would be willing to give up fishing if the populations were threatened to the point where such measures had to be implemented. It is for that reason that we must take care to make sure that we don't continue to desimate populations so that future generations can continue to enjoy fishing.

Skinny
 

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I think it's a halfway interesting moral question, but ultimately frivolous. I don't need to justify whether I cause a fish pain or suffering. Maybe I do. But my pleasure comes from the fish's exhibition of strength and courage, not its pain. I don't want to make it suffer; I do want to steal its juju. At any rate, worrying about it ignores some very salient points.

First, a wild fish lives an unrelentingly brutal life. I don't think that whatever pain, fear, and/or suffering I inflict on a fish by hooking and playing it is at all different in kind from say being snatched by an osprey, or mauled and devoured by an otter, or attacked by a larger fish, or the pain, fear, and/or suffering that the fish itself inflicts upon its own prey. (I happen to believe that the available data suggests that the fish is incapable of divining or reflecting on the difference, even "remembering" its experiences in any meaningful way, or certainly of feeling remorse or regret for any of its actions or experiences, but that's even beside the point.)

Our hero and his sympathisers will argue that the fish, the osprey or the otter do the things they do to survive. Fair enough. But I would counter that as a higher animal, humans have higher survival requirements, and some of them are spiritual and/or aesthetic, requirements that are in some ways satisfied by this particular interaction and its ritual pantomime of an ancient food-gathering, community-building, and god-creating practice.

Put simply, feeling sorry for little fishies betrays some rather lazy thinking.
 

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If aliens came down out of the skies and angled (human'd?) for us using beer or pizza or chicks, I'd rather that they pull me up to their ship, take a couple photos, maybe see that I was about 175lbs (a nice one!) and set me on my way. It beats the alternative!
 

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I may not be smart, but I recognize a smart dude when I read one. That ray healers is worth listening to and following what he says. He covers it all, and says it well. All I can say is "word!"
bob:)
 

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So what if they feel pain? I don't care. I don't care if they get cold or how they feel about me or if they excessively worry about their future and cause undue stress upon themselves leading to years of intensive therapy.

And thats just the idiots who care about how the fish feel, and if the fish feel pain too...oh well.

Fish on!
Piscator
 

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This is a very good point. We are all conservationists. Those of us who do hunt as well as fish see the value in maintaining our sports, and the source. My dad taught me to never keep a fish that I did not intend to eat myself and never fill my bag limit. Since I am older and wiser now I have learned the deeper enjoyment of C&R.

Thanks for the post.

meat
 

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Everything Humans do adversely affects nature. I get a kick out of the Vegans who harang people for eating meat, when they don't think twice about the leather in their shoes, much less how many animals have been displaced by their house in the new subdevelopment, or the pollution caused by any production facility that makes all the crap we deem necessary in our convenience-obsessed lives. You can't take a step in this world without killing something. It's the people who make an effort to minimize the damage that are making a difference. I have a conscience, therefore I do everything I reasonably can to minimize my impact on the environment, short of running around naked and eating nuts and berries (anyone ever hooked up a pain meter to an ear of corn?) I don't feel guilty about flyfishing--I just walk softly and carry a six-weight.
Happiness is a tight line.
aaron j
 

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Here is my response to Mr. Jacoby's babbling...

Mr. Jacoby, I suppose it's your job to comment about things, even if it's not particularly intellegent, just your opinion. Well, here's my opinion, you're a hypocrite of amazing proportion. Your article openly admits you condone slaughter for food and animal testing. Then you go into all your "data collection" to support your abhorance to sport fishing, complete with visions of sport catching other species with hooks. You should work for the goverment as a spin doctor or Hollywood as a screen writer. Stop parading around as anyone with a conscience, it just doesn't fit you at all.

Roper,

Good things come to those who wade...
 

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Anyone up for some fishing?

Headin out to a true east side lake tomorrow if anyone wants to meet up?? Im gonna go catch me some fish and then let em go so I can catch em another day ;-) .

These people just make me laugh....thats it. I suppose maybe I should take a more pro-active thought process to these types of topics but for right now its all about enjoying each day to the fullest, and if that day includes fishing then its a good day :7
~Patrick ><>
 

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RiverFishing

There's probably some former "hippies" on this site who would argue this stereotype, but I can assure you, based on my reading this guy's columns often, he's no "hippie." He's one of the more conservative syndicated columnists that I know of, and I'd be willing to bet a staunch supporter of the second amendment.
He's also (in my opinion) one of the more self-righteous, sanctimonious columnists around, and it appears that he's latched onto this issue because he's probably not a fisherman and doesn't get it, and if he doesn't get it, it can't be good, right?
I personally feel that everyone one of us who doesn't kill or raise everything we eat (and I don't) is at some very deep philosophical level a hypocrite, because we're accepting that someone else is doing the dirty work that we can't or won't do.
My coffee this morning started as beans that were picked by some third-laborer whose wages are probably insufficient to raise a family. The apples, cherries, etc., that will be harvested and sold in this state will be picked by Mexicans, some likely illegal, who'll live in tents or shanties while they're here. Meanwhile, we'll rant about the problems with illegal immigrants while conveniently ignoring the fact that it's OUR appetite for cheap foods that helps feed the whole system of agribusiness that depends upon cheap labor. And none of us will spend a day in the fields or orchards. My meat is the end product of a farm factory that inprisoned the animal from birth, but I'm not going out to the back yard to build a chicken coop.
My point is, this guy has chosen to strike a philosophical line in the sand, which is his right. He's evidently willing to accept that his appetite for the good life helps support the exploitation of cheap labor and a system that reduces animals to mere commodities.
Is it more humane to catch and eat a salmon that made it to the ocean, survived three years, and then found its way back to the river, or to buy and eat a fish that was raised with thousand of others in a pen in a bay in British Columbia? Is it more authentic to "harvest" a pheasant or buy our agribusiness chicken that lived out its life in a tiny cage and was killed and processed by a semi-skilled laborer in North Carolina who'll get carpal tunnel syndrome and then live with it because the company doesn't accept responsibility?
It's all in how you look at it, and where you draw your line. Myself, I know I'm willing to close my eyes to some pretty umcomfortable facts in order to live the way I do, and Jacoby's probably right - I've been able to justify fishing by a variety of reasons that I can personally live with. He's able to close his eyes to some uncomfortable stuff, too.
I'll take him or anyone else seriously when they build their own homes with native or recycled materials, get off the grid, raise their own food, home-school their kids, and bury their dead in the back yard.
The rest of us (including Jeff Jacoby and myself) should be more willing to allow others to live according to their own values, and be honest enough to know we're not perfect, and surely in no position to point to another's values and call them wrong.
For what it's worth, I knew a lot of "hippies" back in the days. A precious few did just what I've described, or darn close. An amazing number also found their way back into the mainstream, drive SUV's and belong to the local country club.
Go figure...

Mike
:dunno
 

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Not Quite A Luddite, But Can See One From Here
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RiverFishing

Word, and word!

Mike
 

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I see it like this:

Everything in life comes down to balance, a weighing of options, choosing one thing over another.

When I eat a hamburger, I not only have to justify that something died so I can eat, I also have to justify the saturated fat, and how dieticians would have me select something healthier. I have to justify that I'm eating a hamburger from McDonald's, supporting the corporate machine, and I'm buying it there because it's half as expensive as the one from the mom-and-pop across the street. So my financial planner would be proud of me, but maybe not an economist. I have to justify that I'm probably consuming GMO's, which scientists are happy with, but which might be a pandora's box of bizarre mutations. And where was this packaging made, and where will it end up when I throw it away? There were probably caustic chemicals in the ink on it.

...And so on. It may be interesting for the sake of conversation to inspect our near-infinite decisions, but they're ours to make, and ultimately it comes to how we balance out all of our endless decisions in life that justifies our existence.

As for me, the benefits that come from the decision to release my catches far outweights the negative impacts of keeping them.

Teeg

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You can be fish recycler too, let 'em swim.
 
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