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Thread: Ethical question

  1. #1
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    Default Ethical question

    I talked to a new neighbor the other day to get to know what he was about. I talked about kayaking and fishing. He immediately kind of scowled and said, "I don't do much fishing, but I enjoy eating fish. What I can't stand is those catch and release guys. Ripping fish out of their natural environment, threatening their lives, just for the thrill of it." Well, that's me... It put an end to the fishing conversation.

    But I started thinking about it... I had always considered myself a respectful person of nature and of fish in general. I support the Fish and Game Departments, I generally only keep what I eat that day, I use only single hooks and as small as possible.

    It's true though, we like to trick fish into taking our lures for the excitement and our pleasure. We stick hooks through the back of their eyes, tear up their esophogus and then say, thanks for the thrill, see-ya-later-bye. Anyways, the conversation was kind of a downer and I have been trying to rationalize and ligitmize my behavior since. Of course my wife is all over this idea now - that catch and release is unethical - hoping to curb my enthusiasiam and plan more travel to resorts than outback excursions.

    I need help fellas to win this war of words. What's the rationalization to continue my behavior? Much appreciated.

    ~Bryant

  2. #2
    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    Your Neighbor's both right and full of crap. If your releasing a fish that is badly damaged that's not right. Put the poor thing out of it's misery even if it just ends up going in the garden or to the dog. If the fish is in good shape by all means put it back carefully. One of the reasons many streams are single hook only is that there is a higher survival rate among catch and release fish caught on single hooks, another is too limit Sanger's. Personally I only use single hooked lures for this reason. Also a fair hooked fish is much more likely to survive you'll never catch this boy doing the Kenai two jerk (everyone knows exactly what I mean by that keep your PM's and Rick bashing to yourselves). Not over stressing the fish is also important so use appropriate gear. Don't use bait!!!! if you intend to catch and release don't use bait it greatly increases the chances you'll end up damaging the fish. Several studies have shown that catch and release fish have a higher survival rate in fly fishing, I donut think that applies here because the studies looked at dry fly fishing compared to spin casting techniques. If done correctly catch and release fishing can be fun and ethical, if done incorrectly your neighbor may have a point.

    Just one Alaskans opinion
    Rick P

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    Default In my opinion!

    That is “Point of View” rationalization. If we take every thing we do down to the infinitesimal/minute detail something or form gets destroyed or damaged.

    Take bike riding or hiking. Every trail, manicured or wild is destroying or harming life if get down to it. Every foot step in the wilds destroys fauna and what we leave behind unintentionally causes some type of distress.
    We chose to be out doors in the manor that appeals to us individually. We simply chose to value our quarry enough to care for how we choose to interact with it and there for honor it and even understand it better.

    Of course in every avenue of life we will meet up with "Bubba" or "Mr. Snooty" whether at the football game, golf course, shooting range or stream side and we cannot in all cases "Save that Soul" or bring around them to our way of thinking. We are all individuals and choose how we enjoy this creation. All we can do is ingage with one another in a respectful manor and teach our families to do like wise and just maybe we can influence others to our way...

    Aaahhh! Just sprained my ankle falling off my soap box..

    Hope this helps. We all have opinions and if you fall in line with mine then we will both be right....

    George

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    Default think like a fish

    remember that fish are not human...they don't feel, think, or have emotions as we do. some animals do have human characteristics, like dogs, whales, and monkeys, but i wouldn't consider sticking a hook in any of them and reeling them in. in the animal kingdom, a fish has a relatively very small brain, so as long as the released fish is able to survive and go on naturally, there's no need to feel bad about "harassing" it, because the fish doesn't understand what harassment, or turture, or sorrow, or any of these human created terms mean.
    there is absolutely nothing wrong with bringing a fish home for the table, but personally, i get just as much enjoyment out of watching that fish swim away, knowing it has a fighting chance of fulfilling its destiny by continuing its genetic legacy. you don't have to rationalize the fulfillment you get out of catching a fish for sport; whether it's the domination of nature that gets you off, the feeling as if you're a part of it, or the ability to deceive a lesser species. it's obviously a part of human nature to have these feelings (you're surely not the only one to experience them) and that's all the explanation, or rationalization, anyone deserves.
    Mark W.
    www.akfishology.com

    fishing isn't about life or death... it's more important than that.

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    Default Rationalizations. . .

    Quote Originally Posted by baja4ever View Post
    What's the rationalization. . .
    ~Bryant
    http://overmywaders.com/cblog/archives/46-At-what-Cost-CR-in-Alaska-by-John-Nelson-to-the-ADFG.html#extended

    http://www.kerasote.com/catchdeny.html


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    I think the C&R folks -- get the other side of the coin -- "aren't you going to keep/eat that?" I let some go especially really big ones but will take home enough my fair share.

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    Member AKBighorn's Avatar
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    Don't be so thin skinned or he'll have ya eatin strickly vegies before long.

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    Smile To each his own. . .

    Pure c&r is fishing with no intent to keep a fish, and in so doing we are essentially saying we are willing to stress the animal by forcing it to violently express its instinct to live and put the animal's life at risk because some percentage of c&r fish, however small, will unavoidably die.

    Whenever man and animals come into contact or whenever man uses an animal, it would seem there is some ensuing risk to the animal's life. Race horses break legs, Iditarod dogs die, and so on.

    Now I don't think animals have rights—none whatsoever. But I do think we humans have responsibilities toward animals, to use them respectfully. And that's the bottom line.

    If one can practice c&r, admitting that he is using the fish for recreational purposes and believe that in spite of stressing the animal and putting its life at risk he is being respectful, that's his right. C&R isn't so much the problem as is self-deception. If one is going to practice c&r, it should be done in the consciousness that in spite of the risk and stress to the fish, c&r still constitutes a justifiable and respectful use of the animal.

    To each his own. . .

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    Default

    Unethical is taking last year's catch out of the freezer and throwing it in the trash to make room for this year's catch, and I'll bet several guys here will be doing it. That kind of catch and release is unacceptable. Releasing a live fish seems better.

  10. #10

    Default The Apex Predator.....

    ....that would be ME. They, the fish I release, should be happy I did not choose to eat them!

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    Default The heart of the matter. . .

    The following is from http://www.overmywaders.com/index.php?sportsmanship by Howard T. Walden, II.

    Quote:
    Sportsmanship implies something beyond these common attributes of decent men, and something beyond what is known as the amateur spirit. Rather it is a tenderness of heart, a sense of gladness in the happiness of a life other than one’s own, including the trout’s, and a sense of sorrow in all that detracts from this ideal. There are skillful amateur fly-fishermen who are brutes, professional seine- haulers who are kindly and great of soul.

    Sportsmanship is not a static or permanent system of morals but rather a flexible code capable of growth, capable of advancing as men become more civilized in other ways. It has advanced a long way, if ever so slowly, since the first dinosaur was pot-shotted from above with a boulder rolled off a ledge. This progress, then, must be leading to a definite consummation. Since refinements of gear and methods tend to make the kill more and more difficult it may be demonstrated quite logically that the consummation is no fishing at all.

    Sporting ethics as conceived today tolerate the killing of fish and game—in fact the kill is the core of the matter—but do not tolerate methods of killing which are inhumane or easy of accomplishment. Mere killing is not honored; skillful killing is. So in order to kill a trout or a grouse skillfully one must devise a difficult method of killing. A snap shot at a grouse in full flight, made in a split second as the bird dissolves in the November woods, is an extremely difficult way to kill that grouse. The difficulty challenges skill of a high order; the acquisition and exercise of that art are the essence of the sporting appeal of that particular kill. A big brown trout may be easy to hook with a live minnow at night but almost impossible to take with a small dry fly in broad daylight. Hence, according to the code, the latter achievement is worth ten of the former.

    It is still true that men must kill, but this blunt truth is so repellent to civilized men that, though they will not give it up, they will make it difficult. To make it difficult is to make it sporting, and to make it sporting is to make it excusable. While the concept of sportsmanship embraces the act of killing it draws farther and farther away from mere slaughter. Then, in following that course, it may be argued that the true if unconfessed objective is no fishing at all. But if we do away with fishing we do away with the necessity for sportsmanship. Sportsmanship, then, must presuppose some form of the chase with capture and kill the ultimate end. As sporting ethics become more refined the actual kill must be made more difficult. As if pretending that the goal were the complete elimination of the kill we must approach that goal but never reach it. For once reached, the whole show and its reason for being evaporate into thin air. ...
    Some men have considered all that, and beyond, and given up fishing for the rest of their lives. An idea has caught hold of them, an irrevocable revulsion at taking a life in many respects superior to their own. An ultimatum, answerable in only one way, has been issued. These men are perhaps sentimentalists, perhaps not. They have seen a certain light, an individual truth, and for them it shines brightly and suffices.

    A hundred practical arguments support the opposite view.... If I don’t take a trout someone else will. The entire scheme of nature is of the hunter and the hunted, essentially a scheme of violence. The trout I refuse is the victim of the next predator, human or other....

    Possibly such rationalizations have dimmed that light to my eyes. Having thought as deeply as I can into the question I can still conclude that, to me, the fair killing of trout for sport is a worthy thing.

    There is no absolute answer: it is relative to the individual, and it lies deep in that subsoil of character whose many components include all experience. We can make our decisions only on such indications as we find near the surface. Conscience is the final guide. If nothing in you is deeply offended by the hooking, playing and killing of a trout you surely have a moral right, by the only precepts measurable by man, to take that fish. If the procedure is offensive you will of course drop it.

    And as certainly you will renounce the whole of trout fishing when you renounce the taking of the fish. For this is the heart, and the heart cannot be cut out if the body is to live. The camera alternative—ever a popular cry to the hunters who kill with firearms—is no good, even were it practical. The sweet scenery of a trout stream, the soft orchestrations of the riffles and the wood thrushes at dusk, the utter peace of the world of the trout waters —these are but embellishments upon the central theme. Without them the sport would be a mockery. But without the heart the appendages will stiffen and die. To deny that ultimate aim of trout fishing—the catching [ed. "killing"] of trout—is to deny the meaning of all that surrounds it.


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    Member BlueMoose's Avatar
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    Default C & R

    I just can't help my-self.

    Frist tell your new neighbor to Whiz up a rope!

    Catch and Release is a wonderful management tool to assist all fish retain positive numbers in a not so positive enviorment. Yes there is a slight mortality rate accomplishing C&R and Yes it does allow others to harvest fish that they might not had a chance to do if we did not practice C&R.

    In Alaska in many places it is not an issue of a sustainable population however in the Lower 48 with today's put and take fisheries C&R is a wonder management practice that enhances a some what limited resource.

    We could go on and on about ethics and damage etc..... to be honest it is a mute point with a no win situation for sportsman. Little statements made be people with little or no knowledge of resource manament tend to divide user groups some times on purpose some times not.

    Go fishing, release what you wish and harvest the rest. Bottom line even though we may over think are current situation as fisher type people enjoy your sport in the manner the law allows, and again tell your new neighbor to go whiz up a rope respectfully!

    :-(

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    Wink Management tool for what?

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueMoose View Post
    Catch and Release is a wonderful management tool to assist all fish retain positive numbers in a not so positive enviorment.

    "It (mandatory catch-and-release) is a tool which enables managers to continue maximizing the opportunity to participate in recreational fisheries while reducing mortality to what can be termed 'catch-and-release mortality.' In this way, the economic value of recreational fishing is not jeopardized as the opportunity to participate is not reduced." — Doug Vincent-Lang, et al, "Mortality of coho salmon caught and released using sport tackle in the Little Susitna River, Alaska, 1992" (ADF&G)


  14. #14

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    Baja,

    I guess I would just trust in the ethics instilled by your father (or whoever introduced you to the sport.) If he (or she) is or was like my dad, he probably did a pretty good job of providing a benchmark for deciding what is right and what is wrong. I'll bet your internal moral compass that was built by the previous generation points pretty much in the right direction.

    I wouldn't pay too much attention to what a stranger thinks, whether he's pontificating on your sidewalk or posting on an internet bulletin board (like me.)

    That's not to say that we can't learn from advances in fisheries management, but I would still trust Dad over just about anyone else.

    Hope you have a good fishing season.

    tt

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    Default Ah Marcus

    [QUOTE=Marcus;82691][FONT="Georgia"][SIZE="3"]"It (mandatory catch-and-release) is a tool which enables managers to continue maximizing the opportunity to participate in recreational fisheries while reducing mortality to what can be termed 'catch-and-release mortality.' In this way, the economic value of recreational fishing is not jeopardized as the opportunity to participate is not reduced." — Doug Vincent-Lang, et al, "Mortality of coho salmon caught and released using sport tackle in the Little Susitna River, Alaska, 1992" (ADF&G)

    That is a great point Sir and yes there are exceptions to all rules and Coho Salmon are one of them. Thank you for pointing out the exception which I am sure there are more. It is a poor person who does not learn from knowledge and with that one should never practice catch and release on a species of fish that will die a majority of the time. As stated in my post it tends to be more applicable in the lower 48. :-)

    Tight Lines Marcus.

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    Default exceptions

    i think it's worth repeating.... there are exceptions. for those of you who are unaware - Coho salmon have an unusually high mortality rate as a result of C&R. This fact has been well documented, especially in recent years, and the weird part about it is that the mortality rate seems to get worse as you get closer to the ocean. Fresh silvers have a harder time coping with the stress of a hook and line battle than those silvers that have been in the river for some time. Silvers that are closer to spawning actually do better when released than the chromers. i thought it was worth repeating so that those who attempt to release a few before they get their limit and go home (the lower kenai comes to mind) understand the likely result of their actions.
    Mark w
    www.akfishology.com

    fishing isn't about life or death... it's more important than that.

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    As I remember the ADFG studies about coho mortality, particularly on the Little Su, the cause of mortality was handling the fish and compromising the fish's slime coat. Fish that had the line cut without removing the hook did fine. The fish that were handled during hook removal generally died.

    Hooks are cheap.

  18. #18

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    I've thought about the topic myself. I like using larger, harder to swallow hooks and pinch my barbs when doing the catch and release thing. I also set the hook early. I generally miss a lot of fish but I hardly ever get any hard to unhook and few out of the water more than about 20 seconds. Also keep the fish in the water as much as possible and don't wipe the slime off. I get the urge to throw rocks at the alledged c&r people wiping the slime off of the fish just before the photo op. I've seen it on a few fishing shows too. It's not a dog, don't pet it! Don't fight them out. I babysit them until they appear to have the energy to swim away upstream on it's own.

    It would be hard to argue that it is right in the ethical sense but so is using fossil fuels and eating chicken from a chicken factory. Two wrongs don't make a right but if you get that picky about it we are all hypocrites. If you feel bad after you go fishing just recycle something or let me catch your fish for you.

  19. #19
    Member JediMasterSalmonSlayer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beer:30 View Post
    Two wrongs don't make a right but if you get that picky about it we are all hypocrites. If you feel bad after you go fishing just recycle something or let me catch your fish for you.
    I second that idea...If you feel bad about C&R or guilty cause your morale compass is going hay-wire, let me know so I can go fish your spot. I am a hypocrite...I admit it.

    I like to catch and release because it gives me more training time for what I like doing. Hands on practice is what I need to perfect my obsession of fishing.
    http://www.myfishingpictures.com/watermark.php?file=133776
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    Marcus' postings certainly caused me to think more about my practices of catch & release. . . but I don't fish to "think". . . I fish to "feel". I practice C&R when appropriate (e.g. when required to) as it does help build a sustainable fishery, and lets me fish without depleting the resource.

    Make no mistake, I'm not a purist by any means - fishing was "invented" as a means of putting food in the gullet - no more , no less. As man has evolved into ever more complex societies, he/she has moved farther from having to provide food from the source for consumption. As we grow farther from the subsistence model, we tend to spend time previously allocated to gathering food, to thinking about gathering food, and the thoughts are not always pleasant if one doesn't have to put it into practice. Hence the bittersweet moment every hunter or fisher feels when they do take an animal's life for consumption.

    Philosophical discussions (does the fish feel pain? how much pain? what type of pain?), I think I'll leave for the classroom, where discussions like that belong. I'll be out on the bank fishing . . . keeping some, letting some go.

    Tight lines,

    SH

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