Why catch and release is tough on fish
Category: Fields and StreamsVia: buzz-of-the-orient • 5 years ago • 86 comments
Why catch and release is tough on fish
Study looks at how fish have trouble eating once the hook is removed.
By Mary Jo DiLonardo, Mother Nature Network, October 10 2018
Enjoyable for everyone ... except for the fish. (Photo: Iakov Filimonov/Shutterstock)
There's a long-standing debate about whether catch and release fishing is humane. Anglers say it's a harmless way to enjoy the sport while still conserving at-risk species. Animal rights activists counter that it's cruel, citing mounting evidence that fish feel pain .
A hook pierces a fish's mouth when it goes in and again as it's taken back out. Yes, the fish is released, but is there a cost to its health? New research says yes.
Mouth injuries caused by the hook can harm the fish's ability to eat properly, according to a study published by an international team of scientists in the Journal of Experimental Biology .
When a hook is removed from a fish's mouth, it leaves an extra hole. Researchers found that this wound can interfere with the suction mechanism used by fish like bass, salmon and trout to feed
"The suction feeding system is somewhat similar to how we drink liquid through a straw," study co-author Tim Higham of the University of California Riverside said in a statement . "If you poke a hole in the side of your straw, it's not going to work properly."
Hungry while healing
Fish like trout feed by creating suction with their mouths. (Photo: Dan Bagur/Shutterstock)
For the study, the researchers studied 20 shiner perch — 10 caught by hook and line and 10 caught by net. The fish were immediately transported to a lab where they were monitored and photographed while they were fed. They were all eager to eat, but the ones caught by hook had significant difficulties doing so.
"As we predicted, the fish with the mouth injuries exhibited a reduction in the speed at which they were able to draw prey into their mouths," Higham said. "This was the case even though we used barbless hooks, which are less damaging than barbed hooks."
The fish were safely released after the experiment.
The researchers said they don't know how much this feeding issue would affect the fish's ability to survive in nature. However, they believe the injuries caused by the hook would affect the fish's ability to feed while the mouth is healing.
Said Higham, "This study emphasizes that catch-and-release is not as simple as removing the hook and all being well, but rather is a complex process that should be studied in more detail."
Wonder what Jeremy Wade thinks of this?
LOL. "River Monsters" get treated the same as any other fish.
Spent $500.00 stocking my new pond a couple of years ago with bass, black crappie, coppernose hybrid bluegill, redear and fathead minnows mainly to create a healthy ecosystem. Not much of a fisherman but it's nice to have the potential food source. Haven't dipped a line yet but am curious as to how big they've gotten. Dunn's Fish Farm says they'll likely be pan sized next year.
Never heard of barbless hooks but have always been a catch and eat sort of guy myself. All I own is a couple Popeil Pocket Fisherman but am considering getting into fly fishing for the art of it.
I know that fly fishing is considered by many to be as much an art as a sport, and it includes learning to cast properly and even to the extent of creating by tying your own flies. Although I tried it a couple of times, I was a lot more successful with still-fishing with bait or casting with spoons and lures.
I regret in a way to this day not buying when I had the opportunity a remote 300 acre farm near Algonquin Park in Ontario that had a fully enclosed spring-fed clean 35 acre lake that I could have stocked like you did.
Being a "Catch and Eat" fisherman myself, at least I don't let the fish suffer.
Once they're dead they all suffering is greatly diminished.
I've never understood the fascination with violently yanking a living thing out of it's habitat for no good reason. You seriously can't find a way to entertain yourself that doesn't involve cruelty? Don't even get me started on hunting.
Are you a vegan? I eat fish, and when I fish it is both for sport and food, and as far as I'm concerned the combination is a good reason to "yank a living thing out of its habitat".
I understand the need to eat. I don't understand the need to catch and release. Or the need to hunt an animal just to mount it on your wall or turn it into a rug. There was a story a few months ago about some poachers who were mutilated by the animals they were hunting. It made my heart sing.
I don't understand the need to catch and release
Ya don't want to "Cook" someone's Kiddy now ……. do ya ?
Only the Big boys are worth "Cooking".
What many fail to understand is how most hunters and fisherman do more to preserve and perpetuate the animals they hunt and fish than they do to harvest them. Most like myself are conservationists that donate heavily to conservancy groups like Ducks and Trout Unlimited. Organizations like that do more for the resource than all the anti hunting/fishing groups combined.
Add that to the license fees paid by those sportspeople to hunt/Fish/etc and it fully funds most state and federal agencies that administrate, monitor, manage and attempt to preserve such resources. Hunters and fisherman are carrying the ball in this regard. Putting in much more than they take out.
So individual folks who feel that "need" usually help perpetuate the animal in question greater than the folks who are against such activities.
It made your heart sing? Wild thing.
Pay-backs a bitch !
I have a friend who catches fish big enough to eat all the time, but he just throws them back. He has no intention of keeping anything most of the time when he fishes. I guess he just likes to wallow in what a big powerful man he is, and that he can injure unsuspecting fish just for the fuck of it. Some would call that tiny penis syndrome.
I also work with a couple of very enthusiastic hunters. One of them doesn't shoot anything he doesn't plan on eating. The other will shoot anything, because he is a pathetic prick. He tells tales about shooting baby deer all the time. Makes me sick.
Also long before there was an Environmental Movement it was Sportsmen who were fighting for Conservation of Wildlands, Wetlands, Rivers, Lakes, and Sea. Sportsmen are the ones who fought for Public access to shorelines ,bodies of water, and Public Lands. If it wasn't for Sportsmen most of our Public Lands and Shorelines would have been sold off in the first half of the 20th century, before the 1960's Sportsmen were pretty much the only voice calling for Conservation.
You need to "Change" friends then....since they make you "Sick".
Why prolong your grief ?
Can you read? I said I work with two hunters. I hate both of them in a big way, for more reasons than being shitty to wildlife. As for my friend who fishes, friend is probably not the right word for him. My wife and I are great friends with his wife. We have to just tolerate her husband. He's a lame ass Trump supporter, so we are forced to limit our visits with them for two days max at a time. At that point the Trumpster in him starts coming out.
Can you read? I said I work with two hunters.
Lots of jobs available now, thanks to President Trump. Find a new job. No one is stopping you.
I hate both of them in a big way, for more reasons than being shitty to wildlife.
Get a new job. Why put yourself through soooooo much grief !
Work is Fun dontchyaknow !
Oh yeah, why don't I just go find a job where everybody is perfectly suited to work with me? You always have such great advice! I guess I need to stop there, since going any further would draw out the flying monkeys.
Oh yeah, why don't I just go find a job where everybody is perfectly suited to work with me?
Why settle ?
your better than that ……. Right ?
Couldn't agree more. We hunters do more for the environment than anti hunters tend to do.
There were deer in my yard this morning eating my peach trees out in the mist.
Didn't even think about shooting them as my freezer is full. Just walked up and shooed them away.
(P.S. be careful of deer this time of year. The rut makes them a tad dangerous).
Of course there is a point to that, but on the other hand there are bound to be people who simply don't have the money to spend on food (although they DO spend it on bullets I guess) who really have little choice. As well, to maintain a balance in nature and maintaining the environment, sometimes limited kills could be encouraged.
there are bound to be people who simply don't have the money to spend on food (although they DO spend it on bullets I guess) who really have little choice.
Buzz, here are some stats regarding the Whitetail Deer in Michigan that might interest you. Venison can be obtained during the annual hunting season (Nov. 15-30 for firearms) with a license costing about $ 20 for a resident. Another $ 16 will get you a permit to take a doe but such permits are limited in number, with more available in the southern part of the State where farming crops for sale is prevalent. Most hunters already have at least one rifle or shotgun. Cartridges cost about $ 1.25 each. So, if you live close to where you hunt, your total cost for two deer (assuming that you know what you're doing and are a good shot) would come to about $ 38.50. Figuring average sizes, that comes to between 150 and 300 pounds of meat. The equivalent amount of beef would cost (at the price I bought some for yesterday) $ 3.00 per pound. So, for about $ 40, you can get meat worth between $ 450 and $900 (and venison actually tastes better than beef). For those who just want the hide and head, they can take the carcass to any DNR station where the personnel will sometimes help you skin it out and will always see to it that the meat gets to people who need it.. Most other States have similar distribution programs.
As well, to maintain a balance in nature and maintaining the environment, sometimes limited kills could be encouraged.
Throughout the State of Michigan (and we're pretty much typical) there are nearly a million Whitetail Deer. That population is divided according to location. About 2/3 of them are in the area south of US-10 (roughly the southern half of the Lower Peninsula). Farming for corn, soy beans and sugar beets are the main agricultural occupations outside the cities in this area. The other third are somewhat unevenly scattered throughout the rest of the State. Obviously food supply dictates how many are in each place and accounts for the uneven distribution in the northern area. Each deer in a farming area will eat between $500 and $ 1000 worth of cash crops every year. Ask a farmer in the southern area who does not himself hunt what the proper ecological balance with the deer is and he will tell you to kill them all (but don't shoot guns on his property). You will get much the same response from insurance agents representing the companies who have to pay for the large number of car/deer accidents that happen every year (since 2006, my son has nailed seven of them with his pick up truck; I've gotten one with his truck and one with my car).
Since those two groups are politically influential, if it wasn't for the hunters fighting on the other side, the deer population in southern Michigan would have been poisoned off long ago.
If I were driving in this area, maybe the only thing I could hit on the road would be a Panda Bear, and I bet they don't taste like venison.
A few years ago the deer in Leavenworth Kansas got to be so numerous and problematic that the city hired professional bow hunters to thin them out.
Humans create their own problems regarding "imbalanced" populations of both plants and animals in nature; as man destroys habitats of omnivorous, carnivorous and herbivorous animal species, those species must, in order to survive as populations within a given ecosystem/community of plants, animals and inorganic components, eat where they are able to find food … like in a farmer's field, henhouse, garden, trash can, etc. .
After a habitat is compromised by humans in a given area, those same humans must kill or relocate the animals whose habitats they devastated. And when predatory animals are reduced or eliminated in an area, the pests they once kept in check … like rats, mice … carriers of disease … increase in numbers.
"Humanity" is nature's and its own worst enemy … a devastation-domino effect, killing machine!
Which is why controls such as size and number limitations are necessary, with common sense application rather than the kind of bullshit allowing the Japanese to decimate the whale population "for scientific purposes".
No argument from me, Buzz!
Man metaphorically "pisses on the floor" and literally defecates where he eats … only to subsequently impose restrictions on himself when it occurs to him that his environment reeks of urine and feces!
lol.. how wise and gross all at once.
I must admit, as one who fly fishes with barbless hooks and does only "catch and release," after going through this thread, I may not do any fishing today.
There is an argument I will make on behalf of fishermen (with a strong favorability given to the catch and release boys like myself); the revenue generated through fishing permits/licenses, contribute greatly to fisheries research and cultivation, protection and improvement of habitat.
In Pennsylvania (and likely in other states), many streams are designated as "catch and release/artificial lures only" with strict designations as to the lure materials and hook types (i.e. single/barbless). "Bait" consisting of organic (edible) matter, live or manufactured is what kills many more fish than does catch and release. A fish taking (i.e.) an artificial fly, will immediately try to throw it off, knowing it's not edible … as opposed to "bait," which it is likely to swallow along with the hook.
In nature, there are producer organisms like green plants, consumer organisms (some of which are predatory … relating to or denoting an animal or animals preying naturally on others), and decomposers that feed on dead, organic matter. "Man" is a consumer, an omnivore (an animal or person that eats food of both plant and animal origin) … and thus occupies several different levels of the so-called "food pyramid."
As a threat to the natural world … the PLANET EARTH … man's potential ability to destroy and/or adversely affect his life and all other life forms … is minuscule with regard to "catch and release" fishing when compared to outright pollution and destruction for the sake of profiteering … to ignorance, stupidity and greed.
Perspective my friends.
My opinion is that there is nothing wrong with "catch and eat" as it supports the sporting aspect of fishing and is a necessary link in the cycle of life. I do agree with imposed limitations relating to fish size and daily catch numbers.
"Catch and eat" is a logical protocol … no problem for me when others do it in reasonable proportion; I personally wish not to kill a fish … eating and being eaten is part of what sustains life on the planet … the fisherman who catches an occasional, or, necessary meal for himself and/or family is not the same fisherman who fills the stringer or ice chest to show his "manly prowess" over lesser creatures.
Those who may fish with me are always invited to "toss 'em back," after which, usually at sundown, I'll buy them dinner at a nearby eatery …
… and whatever they care to wash it down with.
You guys are going to have me digging all my fishing gear out and getting ready for spring time.
"Catch and eat" is a logical protocol … no problem for me when others do it in reasonable proportion
That protocol is pretty well defined too Mac. If I catch a bass that is under 14" from nose to tail, I put him back. That's not because he wouldn't be good eating but because the State of Michigan is pretty strict about that.
Last year I went out on the lake I told you about earlier, mostly to scout out the big sand bank on the other side of the island for good spots. I put a line in and caught a bass about 9" long. I threw him back and put a re baited hook back in the water. Had a bite and pulled him in. The same fish. He had a small scar just below the dorsal fin so I knew it was the same one. This happened six times. Each time that little dude skinned the worm right off the hook but got it caught in the side of his mouth. Never once did he actually swallow the hook. A total expert at getting a free meal. I finally gave up on that spot. I figured that, since I had fed him half of my bait, I should save the rest for his friends (hopefully larger friends).
You have most likely seen the photo I had posted of me as a young teenager holding a stringer with 4 good sized bass on it. Let me assure you that any fish that either my father or I brought home was cooked and eaten.
LOL. A good story. A solution could have been to keep the fish alive in a pail of water while you try for its father or mother.
In Ontario, at least when I was fishing, the "keeper" regulation was 10" or over - maybe it has changed since then.
Unlike with sex, size DOES matter.
Real fisherman are looking for the "BIG one" to cook.
When I was living in Alaska my Cousin and I went Ice Fishing for trout and we caught a few then something grabbed my 7 dollar jig and broke my line (I saw a Big Dark Shadow under the Ice). Luckily I had my Tacklebox with me so I got a large Rattletrap and a steel leader with some 25lb test line and I tied the line around the handle of my small ice fishing pole and started jigging that rattletrap and that fish came back and slammed it. when I got it out (it barely fit through the hole in the Ice) it was a 27 pound Pike and the best part is that I not only got my 7 dollar jig back but I got about 30 bucks worth of other jigs out of his mouth. I kept him mostly because it took so long to remove all the jigs from his big toothy mouth that he had frostbite and likely would not have survived if I had released him.
Size and slot limits.
We have a red snapper season where I am. Don't friggin catch a red snapper in the off season and keep it, you will be doomed.
In the off season, when you fish for something else, those damn red snapper that are being protected due to population problems, won't stay off your friggin hook. What a waste of bait.
You have a beautiful summer home on a great lake, yet you don't fish?
You have a beautiful summer home on a great lake, yet you don't fish?
There's a big difference between trying to catch fish and "going fishing". Without conformation, I would still bet that Gary does the latter. Going fishing is what you tell your wife when you take the boat out with a fishing pole (hooks and bait optional) and a portable recliner plus a few beers. You come back well rested but without fish.
This is much the same as "going to deer camp", where, according to the singing group Da Yoopers you "drink, play cards and shoot the bull, but never shoot no deer".
You're right. I was never so relaxed and contented as I was in my boat still-fishing just about 100 feet out from my chalet. I intend to do a photo-essay about those days there.
I intend to do a photo-essay about those days there.
Really gotta watch photo essays about that subject. You'll start going through the old pictures, it will put you in such a relaxed mood that you'll sit back from the screen (to think about the essay of cooourse). Open up a beer while thinking and the next thing you know your wife will be shaking you awake and telling you it's time to go to bed. Been there, done that.
Ten shiner perch were caught using scientific angling and 10 were caught using a seine net.
WTH is scientific angling?
Pillows, Bankies, and a worm or two.
I use "Shiners" as bait for the big boys.
Western civilizations 3 brightest minds, err stooges.
I lived in Minnesota from 1990 to 1997...... EIGHT years too long (yes I know it's only 7 years, but that's how much I disliked the state.)
I always asked the guys that went "ice fishing" what they did with all that ice when they caught it.
Seriously, I could never understand the idea of the people that went to Mille Lacs Lake with their 'ice huts' to fish. (They actually plowed 'roads' through the snow and several places delivered pizza!! They also had an unofficial "mayor" of the ice hut village.)
And of course, some morons always tried to wait till the last minute to get their shit off the lake. The lucky ones only lost the ice huts and their vehicle.... the unlucky ones went down with their truck as they tried to drive it off the breaking up and sinking ice.
Personally, I found it so much easier going to the local restaurant for a Walleye dinner. No mess or fuss, stayed warm and dry and the best part is others had to wash the dishes!!
"WTH is scientific angling?"
Maybe that's what it's called when a scientist goes fishing.
This environmental scientist/ecologist/naturalist tends to catch more fish, harvest more deer and eat more insects than anybody. Ever eaten a fried, chocolate dipped grasshopper? Good stuff!
LOL. No, but the people here in China eat cooked Cicadas. (No surprise since they eat pretty well anything they can chew.) The closest I came to that is when a Chinese Traditional Medicine doctor prescribed for me to get rid of a bad cold a concoction that I had to boil and drink and it included leaves, twigs, herbs, seeds and dead Cicadas. The translator I had with me was a student who told me it would taste awful. It didn't cure me but my student was right.
The researchers said they don't know how much this feeding issue would affect the fish's ability to survive in nature.
Sounds like some more research could be beneficial.
WTH have we entered a new era where we "Guess" at truth ?
I think we study stuff like this all the time these days by attaching a radio tracker and releasing animals to study them. Why not now with this ? Seems like a fairly important question for both the fish and he industry at large.
I think more information is needed, I know many people who catch and release, myself included occasionally.
I fish at some heavily fished lakes and ponds where most of the fishermen catch and release and I can tell you I don't see dead fish floating around very often so their injuries are not causing them to starve to death.
I don't see dead fish floating around very often so their injuries are not causing them to starve to death.
LOL Thanks probably true.
But now that we know and have actually thought about the fact that this does injure the fish it does lead to wondering how long and IF there are other ways the fish are affected. Perhaps if injured at the wrong time they may not breed normally.
Details matter sometimes more than we realize.
It was studied this far, why not find out the end ?
Its like asking a question and walking away at this point.
Caught a big sunfish one day a few years back on my first cast. As I was taking the hook out of its mouth it jumped and went overboard taking my Popeil Pocket Fisherman with it. I dove in to rescue both but the water was dark and deep. No joy. Still feel bad for that fish living the rest of its life being hooked to a cheap fishing rod by a Colorado spinner.
it jumped and went overboard taking my Popeil Pocket Fisherman with it.
Gosh I feel kinda sorry for both of you both the fish and you for losing such a wonderful fishing rod and reel.
lol .. Funny story, thanks
I catch and release. But I haven't fished since my husband passed away.
Still hold the record for most fish caught in an hour, 33 at Barnum Pond in the Adirondacks.
Caught my fair share of muskie, northern pike, bass both small and large mouth in both Lake Erie and the Niagara River.
It is immoral to eat a fish or catch it without first getting consent.
Other than humans the only living thing that can refuse consent is a horse - it can say "neigh".
I followed the link to the abstract of the report.
Compared with the control group, maximum prey velocity was significantly lower in the injured group
I'd expect that right after the injury was inflicted, but there's nothing to indicate the impairment lasts.
Fishing injuries in nature are likely to depress feeding performance of fish after they have been released, although it is currently unclear whether this has a significant impact on survival.
I would think people would have noticed lots of dead fish floating around if it did have a significant impact on survival.
"...there's nothing to indicate the impairment lasts."
That's a good point. Do wounds to a fish heal like they would for a human or not, and if they do, then how quickly?
I'll submit that they do heal. Like other land, air or sea animals? Who knows. BUT.... I can attest to having caught a number of fish with hooks still embedded and taken a couple of deer with previous bullet wounds and one with an arrow shaft still in it.
I can't stay away from those little spinner baits!
Is it too much to ask for a handjob before throwing me back?
LOL. As long as you don't stick your fins into the hands.
Huh. This scientist doesn't even know how to "sex" fish.
Well, I, for one, have never been able to tell a male fish from a female fish by looking at it. Of course if they have eggs in them it can be a clue.
Is it too much to ask for a handjob before throwing me back?
The professor who taught Contracts and Agreements at our law school told us that you can't suck and blow at the same time.
I'll bet it's possible, but it's XXX-rated.
I don't know why I have not, until now, come to this group … but … obviously, it's my kind of subject matter … so, I'll be a regular.
Fields and Steams isn't a grouip, A.Mac, it's a Front Page Forum topic, just like Photography and Art or World News. As it happens, I was thinking of you when I posted the article and figured you would have jumped on it.
You figured correctly, Buzz. I'll be back regularly, often with photos.
I used to have a 2 acre pond years ago and from my experience this report is hilarious. It was loaded with some nice Bass that I allowed people to bring there kids over to fish, catch and release only.
It didn't slow the fish down at all, even if they swallowed the hook you just cut the line and they would "pass the hook" as I used to say.
This just goes to prove that if someone wants to do a study to prove a point they can work the data to get the results they want.
Who is online
Being a "Catch and Eat" fisherman myself, at least I don't let the fish suffer. This article is not going to make a few NT members I know very happy.