The Cruelty of Catch-and-Release Fishing

Imagine that you’re a fish darting around your watery home and finding tasty snacks to enjoy. Now, imagine that you bite into one of those snacks and suddenly feel searing pain as a sharp hook rips through your mouth. You fight against it, but the painful hook pulls you toward the surface of the water. You struggle until every last ounce of your strength is gone. You’re then hoisted into the air, and that’s when you begin to suffocate


This is why fishing is not harmless family fun. Fish have nerves, just like cats, dogs, and humans, so they can feel pain. Hooked fish endure not only physical pain but also terror. When they’re removed from their natural environment, they start to suffocate. Imagine the horrible feeling you’d experience if you were trapped underwater. It’s the same for them on land! Once out of the water, fish’s gills often collapse and their swim bladders can even rupture because of the sudden change in pressure. 

When fish are grabbed and handled by humans, the protective coating on their bodies is disturbed. This makes fish more vulnerable to predators when they’re thrown back into the water. 

Fish sometimes end up SWALLOWING hooks, and anglers often try to retrieve them by shoving their fingers or even a pair of pliers down the animal’s throat. This tactic rips out not only the hook but also part of the fish’s throat and guts. 

Studies show that many fish who are caught and thrown back into the water suffer from such severe psychological distress that they die of shock. 

Millions of birds, turtles, and other animals sustain debilitating injuries after they swallow discarded hooks or become entangled in fishing lines. Wildlife rehabilitators say that discarded fishing tackle is one of the greatest threats to aquatic animals. 

Why torture animals for “fun” when there are so many other wonderful outdoor activities to participate in? Please encourage every angler you know to try hiking, canoeing, or camping instead!

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