View Poll Results: Do you agree with me, or these people I complain about?

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  • You. Those anglers should not be doing that, and we should find a way to clean up this situation.

    32 94.12%
  • Them-they weren't doing that badly - Don't come here to Alaska and tell us what to do with our fish.

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Thread: Deplorable Fishing Ethics

  1. #1

    Default Deplorable Fishing Ethics

    I moved here from Utah last fall; I have done quite a bit of fishing in Utah for the past decade, in California before that, Ohio for 13 years, and I learned to fish when my Dad taught me in Michigan to fish for largemouth bass using surface poppers, quite a time ago. I've been a certified hunter safety instructor (a volunteer position) for many years now, teaching hunting and trapping ethics and more.

    Today I spent my first day fishing in Alaska - frankly, I'm appalled.

    My halibut trip was blown out by the weather and I had my first Alaskan fishing license burning a hole in my pocket - I couldn't let it go unused, since I hadn't been able to justify to the wife so far about paying nonresident fees for 'going fishing'. I went to Bird Creek midday today with the family.

    From the bridge my family and I immediately noticed one kid in his early teens that was hauling fish in more often than any other 20 anglers put together, that were in sight. He would typically catch a midsize fish (can't say for sure from 70 yards upstream, but I'd guess Pink, about 24"), take his hook out, and would fling it back into the river sideways; the fish would often 'skip' like you would a flat rock, a couple of times, decending into the river half a dozen feet from the kid. Then he got worse. He catches one, clubs it, then reaches into his fish pile to throw an obviously dead fish into the river. The kid looks to have two adult fishermen with him; they don't appear to straighten the kid out at all.

    I walked upstream. Within 15 minutes I see an angler right in front of me reel in a Pink, step on the fish with his boot (crushing the fish's head, it appeared), and removes his hook. He then casually kicks the fish back into the river, but misses it mostly; it was too shallow to be washed downstream, and the fish wasn't moving. 5 minutes later the dead fish is still within 2 feet of the angler, as he continues to fish.

    What's up with the complete disregard for our public resource? And the law?
    Speaking of which, the law can't show up too often, if ever, or this sort of extremely-poor-ethics would not happen.

    I believe fishing should be a family sport - one that helps to bestow a sense of responsibility for the resource - respect for the animals we respectfully persue, kill, and eat, without wasting it.

    I am fairly upset right now about this, and could go on, but I'll spare you my further thoughts on this for now, except one:

    *You* are allowed to fish public waters here in Alaska because the U.S. Government (not Alaskan government) sees fit to allow you to. (The Supreme Court could someday pull some dumb manuver like to designate all hunting and fishing to be cruel, unusual, barbaric, or anything.) Most of U.S. citizens (yes, we're talking Outside - they have the say-so) do not hunt nor fish. So your ability to continue to pursue your sport lies in the hands of people that do *not* enjoy your sport themselves. And you **** betcha that if they saw a video tape of what I saw today, at a major fishing destination in the Anchorage area like I was at today, you might not be enjoying your sport much longer. People, we have to show everyone that we will obey the rules - *someone* is *always* watching!

    Call me a Utah-rube/cheechako or whatever you want, but tell me this: do you agree with me, or these people I complain about?

  2. #2
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    Default

    I don't mean to excuse this sort of behavior, but get used to it. This behavior is common place on most of the road accessible fishing. Sad, isn't it? Maybe the next governor will put some effort into enforcement. One can hope.

  3. #3
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    Default Ethics and Politics...

    There was nothing wrong with your post, Utah, but on this site it is read by those who already know all about ethics and reason. True, a few newcomers might pick up on it, but sadly, those who need to read it the most, don't even know about us and what we share.

    There are a lot of local Alaska sportfishermen, but to my knowledge they are not oraganized into a single state-wide advocacy group. That's a shame, because the potential would be enormous in the attempt to effect change.

    Organizations who have membership, charter, officers, speakers, dues, and money, represent the power to lobby. Lobby is how you influence those who are in posistion to bring changes about. Venting is OK, but that it is just the start of this process.

    There are solutions out there, and you will read many sensible ideas from those who participate on this forum. I admire them, but I am saddened to see them going nowhere due to the omission of organization to bring them to the legislative table.

    As an out-of-state boy, I would never tell any local resident what to do, but as a businessman who is tied to this state in both heart and investment, I can gently whisper in your ear and say, "get organized".

    And if you think that's an impossibilty then guess again. Thirty years ago you could drive drive drunk all over the USA and get out of it with a simple slap on the wrist. All it took was one angry organized mother, a good following and lobby, and as a result M.A.D.D. changed the entire perspective of drinking and driving in America.

    Would I assist you in your organization? Yes I would. I was trained in it all the way from high school to college, and for the past 35 years I've been using those skills in public education to effect change in this state.

    If any reader of this forum has an interest in my point of view, pop me a line at home at alaskanauthor@comcast.net. I'll build a file and to see what I get and we'll go on from there.

    I hear you anglers. If you want me to help, I will...

    Bernard R. Rosenberg
    http://www.alaskanangler.com

  4. #4
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Nope!

    Quote Originally Posted by Sketch
    I don't mean to excuse this sort of behavior, but get used to it. This behavior is common place on most of the road accessible fishing. Sad, isn't it? Maybe the next governor will put some effort into enforcement. One can hope.
    Sketch,

    Perhaps you're right about more money for law enforcement, but after many years fishing and hunting in this great state, I will NEVER "get used to it" when I see egregious ethical and legal violations such as those Utah described. I'm pretty busy right now trying to get a couple of moose hunts out the door, but if I have time, I think I'll wander over to Bird Creek with my video camera. Then I'll have a few words with those chuckleheads who are doing that kind of thing. No matter if the same ones aren't there; there will be others...

    The only reason why some of these people do things like that is because the people around them tolerate it. Shame on us for not saying something! Utah, I have to assume you didn't have your hip boots with you and could not get out there on the mud where those guys were fishing, but next time, march right up to them and deal with it. Bring your cell phone and give the troopers a call right there. Some of these guys are only afraid of the big stick, and that's when you have to use it.

    This kind of behavior isn't universally tolerated in Alaska.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
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  5. #5
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    Unhappy The root of the problem. . .

    The root of the problem described by UtahBoy is society's attitude toward animals in general. Just for the heck of it, take a look at PETA's Web site some time. According to PETA, animals are not ours to exploit, eat, wear, experiment on, or to use for entertainment. Granted that PETA is on the fringes of public opinion, they nevertheless make points that appeal to a public sentiment that is largely and increasingly formed by urban living and Disney films.

    Personally, I don't think people anywhere or at any time will ever agree that animals are not to eat or to experiment on when human welfare is at stake. That said, it's much harder, maybe impossible, to rationalize wearing fur in New York City or using animals for fun.

    And using animals for fun is exactly what the folks are doing who so disturb UtahBoy and most of the rest of us. Like a tennis ball with a hole in it or a sliced golf ball, these folks use the fish for the fun of the "game" and toss them aside like so much rubbish when they're no longer of use.

    But consider catch-and-release in this context. How much difference would it make to a non-fishing observer if the fish were returned to the water gently? In the eyes of the non-fishing public, the fish are still being used for entertainment.

    Animals have no rights. Rather we all but especially those of us who pursue fish and game because what we do is open to public scrutiny have responsibilities toward animals, to use them correctly and not abuse them. The great majority of the non-fishing public understands using fish for food, but they don't understand tournament fishing, c&r, or kicking fish back into the water. Didn't the Anchorage Daily News just print an article about some guy catching and releasing 100 fish in a day? We need to clean up our act. We should all speak up, loudly and forcefully, when we see animal abuse while fishing.

  6. #6
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    Default

    The anti's are getting better organized. PETA not only hates hunting they hate fishing as well. Don't think so? Then check out FishingHurts.com, PETA's anti fishing website.
    One thing I do have to add is that I noticed that a lot of residents hate pinks. Quotes like "what do you want to waste your time on those for?" and "I wouldn't feed them to my dog" are some that I heard while up there.
    If you are from Alaska (born and raised I mean) that is great!!! You don't know how good you really have it. But if you are from places like Maine where a 4 pound brook trout is a great trophy and you rarely ever catch anything bigger then a 10 pound lake trout. You should really appreciate the 1000's/millions of pinks that come in. Enjoy the fish for the fight if you don't want to eat it let it go so someone else can appreciate it or its offspring someday. Just my two cents, by the way, I am really looking forward to fishing for pinks when I move up there.
    If you take the woods out of the woodsman you have nothing left but a man in the woods.

  7. #7
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    Default PETA Proof...

    PETA is a classic example of an advocacy group. It has membership, dues, officers, charter, website, and a whole lot more of divergent resources to spread its own point of view. It also has money to lobby to effect change with over $25 million worth of contributions.

    It is a nonprofit, tax-exempt corporation funded almost exclusively by its members. If you ever wanted to witness the power of being organized, this is it.

    Last year the state of Alaska vended over a half million sport fishing licenses to resident and non-resident anglers. That's a staggering number. The membership for Alaska Sport Fishing Improvement (that right, we need a name and so I've tossed one out; A.S.F.I.) is right in that number pile.

    I've seen no finer advocacy for Alaska Sport Fishing Improvement than right here on this very site. The essence of such an advocacy group is scattered among all of your talents, right now. I can think of no finer spot to begin, than right here...

    http://www.alaskanauthor.com

  8. #8

    Default Ethics

    First of all, I hope that the fact that I am a professional fishing guide doesn't instantly discount my opinion.

    Believe it or not, I consider myself a great conservationist. I enjoy fishing so much (consumptive as well as c&r), that I would gladly give up fishing to preserve the health of the species, so that we could fish later. I was able to experience this first hand this year with the sockeye fishing on the Kenai. All indications were that the run wasn't going to show, based on sonar counts, commercial counts and ADF&G test nets, so all sockeye fishing, including commercial, personal use, sport and c&r, was closed (not making arguments for or against management decisions here... it was cerainly a tough call for all involved). I endured some very unhappy clients who paid a lot of money to travel to Alaska to fish for salmon. I can only imagine the phone calls and letters that the ADF&G biologist must have received....

    The kind of fishing that is described by Utah is simply put, barbaric. It is wasteful, disrespectful, and inconsiderate of the future of the sport. Not only from an ethical perspective, but also from a biological point of view.

    Of course, as a guide (especially on the Kenai River) I am constantly under public scrutiny and seemingly held to a much higher standard (maybe because of the easily identifiable name and number on the side of my boat). That is fine with me. I for one, do not particularly care to consume pink salmon, nevertheless, they are one of the most aggressive and plentiful salmon in the river. They are easy and fun to catch. But if a fish is mortally injured during the catching (bleeding from gills for example), the fish goes into the box and is counted against the client's daily bag limit, no questions asked.

    Unfortunately, I too have witnessed unethical practices (similar to those described by Utah) even by "professional" guides. Let me tell you, I am the first on the phone to the Troopers/Park Rangers to report the activities.

    Certainly, this is an opportunity for educating those who err in their methods and means, but I believe that those who reside at the bottom of the "ethical food chain" are not interested in education, nor are they capable of understanding the why's and wherefore's of protecting, and respecting even the pink salmon.

    Also, I am reluctant to encourage a person to confront another whom you do not particularly know.. thus placing yourself at great risk. I may offer a polite suggestion and if they are receptive, instruction about the proper landing, and releasing of a fish. If the door is not open, then, as someone already mentioned, the "big stick".

    That being said, I wouldn't expect the enforcement guys to race down to the river to enforce proper release methods... not because they don't care, but because there just isn't enough of them. This state is terribly underfunded and understaffed on the fish and wildlife enforcement officers. The few that are working cannot be everywhere all the time.

    Therefore, I encourage those reading this to first be an example... be above reproach in your fishing ethics. Always be willing to help those who simply don't know and are willing to learn. Always be the first on the cell phone to the enforcement folks. Though you may not see a repsonse to every call, the squeeky wheel definitely gets the grease.

    Finally, I totally support the idea of an advocacy group. There are several examples of effective pro-recreation groups: i.e. NRA. However, everything rises and falls on leadership... I think if the right person(s) were to step up and get the ball rolling, it would snowball into a very large, very effective group very quickly. (Even thinking of a couple of folks who have replied to this forum as potential leaders....)

  9. #9

    Default

    Michael Strahan you are walking far out onto a thin branch by recommending a confrontation. These actions can quickly lead to an altercation and someone possibly being hurt or injured. People are crazy and unpredictable, and to make matters worse almost everyone carries some kind of weapon while fishing. Playing the law of the land on these waters is a game I do not want to play. I have spent many years fishing these combat zones and I have seen much of it. I have seen knife fights, fist fights, and I have even seen sword fights using fishing poles.

    Also, I am reluctant to encourage a person to confront another whom you do not particularly know.. thus placing yourself at great risk.
    On the back of every fishing license is the number for Fish and Wildlife. I would highly recommend people call this number instead of a confronting the individual. Also if they are leaving for their vehicle you can also get a license plate number.

  10. #10
    Member akfisherman's Avatar
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    Default Apalling is right!

    I have witnessed a few situations like the one you saw. Unfortunately it happens all too often. I would suggest that you call the troopers when you see something like that in the future. I think the problem is two fold. For years Alaskans have enjoyed and abundance of wildlife with fairly lax rules and sizeable bag limits. The other side is that Alaska like any other state just doesn't put the resources in place to protect our wildlife. There is no excuse for either. I see people that will take several limits of fish and go to Chitna to dip....and still want more. I just don't understand what you want with 253 fish in one season. If the person was living a subsistance lifestyle i could understand, but I don't know too many people that live that lifestyle and go to Valdez 4 times for silvers with there 50K Jetcraft. I try to be mindfull of greed and I always keep an injured fish. Most of the time I keep every legal fish I catch reguardless of size. I will be making a second trip to Valdez this year, because my wife wants a bit more smoked and canned silvers.

    Utah, unfortunately we have some very ignorant people in this state. But we also have some good hearted people too. Welcome to our great state, and don't be afraid to pick up the cell phone and call the troopers. They will respond, they hunt and fish like the rest of us.

    Fish On.....woooohoooo!

  11. #11
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan
    Sketch,

    Perhaps you're right about more money for law enforcement, but after many years fishing and hunting in this great state, I will NEVER "get used to it" when I see egregious ethical and legal violations such as those Utah described. I'm pretty busy right now trying to get a couple of moose hunts out the door, but if I have time, I think I'll wander over to Bird Creek with my video camera. Then I'll have a few words with those chuckleheads who are doing that kind of thing. No matter if the same ones aren't there; there will be others...

    The only reason why some of these people do things like that is because the people around them tolerate it. Shame on us for not saying something! Utah, I have to assume you didn't have your hip boots with you and could not get out there on the mud where those guys were fishing, but next time, march right up to them and deal with it. Bring your cell phone and give the troopers a call right there. Some of these guys are only afraid of the big stick, and that's when you have to use it.

    This kind of behavior isn't universally tolerated in Alaska.

    -Mike
    I should probably make myself a bit more clear. Unless a person wants to run around confronting these idiots all day, you have to learn to ignore them as much as possible. Yes, I have my cell phone along and even most applicable numbers programmed in so calling is easy if I'm within cell range. And I do call. I also take photos/video/license plate/boat numbers if I can do so. One video I provided to F&G was used as evidence in successfully prosecuting one offense. But I no longer confront these law breakers. I've seen some knock down fights and I simply won't take the chance anymore.

    My fishing time is limited and therefore precious. I don't want to spend all my time being angry or concern myself 100% with the ethics of the guys fishing around me. If someone is bugging me that bad with their behavior, I simply move away. I just won't take the chance of being punched/knifed/shot or worse. Of course, YMMV.

  12. #12

    Default I agree with Sketch

    I have to agree with Sketch, but call the cops if you see blatent disregard like that. If they have time to ride all the way out to Flathorn Lake in the winter to check to see if you are treating the Pike with respect, (yes, twice I got checked there last year), then they care about that. There are crazies out there though. A person I know has a disfigured face because he confronted a person on the Kenai, that person happened to be a meth-head with a fishing knife and permantently changed the poor guy's looks. There are lots of meth-freaks that like fishing too, so be careful, but let's report those people that ruin it for the rest of us like that.
    Hike faster. I hear banjo music.

  13. #13
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    Default kinda like Porn

    of course I think the behavior described here is over the line (way over)

    but like somebody brought up........what about people who catch and release fish after fish with no intent to ever keep one to eat.....??

    then the people who like to fish with "ultra light" gear and play a fish to exhaustion before trying to revive it.......

    I guess it's like Porn *lol*....... I can't exactly tell you where the line is but I know it when I see it

  14. #14
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    Thumbs down AKCheese

    Quote Originally Posted by AKCheese
    of course I think the behavior described here is over the line (way over)

    but like somebody brought up........what about people who catch and release fish after fish with no intent to ever keep one to eat.....??

    then the people who like to fish with "ultra light" gear and play a fish to exhaustion before trying to revive it.......

    I guess it's like Porn *lol*....... I can't exactly tell you where the line is but I know it when I see it
    So I take it you feel that one who practices C & R cannot be an ethical fisherperson because they choose not to kill their prey. I disagree. If one practices it correctly (with the exception of variables outside one's control i.e., log jams, accidental drop, etc) C & R is just as ethical as catching and killing, with the added benefit that someone else can enjoy the sport of fishing thanks to your released fish. This last weekend I caught a beautiful 20+ inch bow on the Kenai. In addition to my (barbless) hook there was a large bead/hook setup in his cheek -- apparehently someone lost the battle. I would guess that he appreciated me removing that hook and putting him on his merry way to do battle another day. I know I appreciated catching him.
    So my question is, what's the difference between a person that C & R's fish after fish never intending to keep one, and those that C& R fish looking for the "big one"?

  15. #15
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    Smile Good question. . .

    Quote Originally Posted by AKUNITED
    So my question is, what's the difference between a person that C & R's fish after fish never intending to keep one, and those that C& R fish looking for the "big one"?
    Good question. The person that catches and releases fish after fish, never intending to keep one, is using the fish — it's life and vitality, forcing it to violently express its instinct to live while unavoidably killing some — for no other purpose than some form of "recreation."

    The person that catches and releases fish after fish looking for the "big one" could be: 1) on a quest for ego gratification (kinda like back in grade school — "Hey look, Ralphie, mine's bigger than yours"), or 2) harvesting selectively, trying for more poundage from a somehow restricted fishery.

    Both types are plainly seen on the lower Kenai in pursuit of kings. Some want a 60 pound-plus wall-hanger or an impressive photo while others are turning loose a fish that will yield 10 pounds of meat in hopes of one that will yield 30+ pounds of fillets and steaks.

    The difference between the two types of anglers posed in the question is "intent." Each "intent" engenders its own set of moral and ethical questions.

  16. #16
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    Default

    The big difference is how the fish are handled. In catch and release, the fish are handled fairly gently and are released in water deep enouogh to swim away. What happened in Utah's case, that we all see, are fish that have the hooks ripped out of their mouths while being held down with a boot and then kicked back towards the water. Big difference. I watch that happen over on Kodiak but was in a position to say something and did. State law says you cannot take a king out of the water unless you intend to keep it, maybe it needs more enforcement. A video camera documenting the problem would certainly help.

  17. #17
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    Default

    I was recently fishing on the Kenia and was asked by 2 individuals from F&G that were collecting samples if they could sample all of our fish (reds). I had no problem allowing them to do this. While they were collecting the samples I landed a fish that had been previously in a net, prop or something and had a nice gouge in it. I told my wife to let it go. The F&G individuals had no problem with that. My wife made a comment about letting it go to grow up so someone else could catch it some day. The F&G person said it really didn't matter if we kept it or not, it was going to die soon! As most of us already knew this I guess I don't see what your point is about C&R not being ethical. Salmon are on their why to die SOON. However I absolutely do not agree with the practice of removing them from the water, kicking or otherwise molesting fish.

    Now on another note: If C&R is an unethical practice because you are using a fish for your enjoyment how about all the other practices that we use animals for. Just a couple of thoughts that come to mind.
    1.Zoo's
    2.Horseback riding
    3.Caged pets
    4.Aquariums
    5.Bull riding
    etc.etc.etc.
    I think that if you don't like C&R that is done in a respectable manner you have a much greater problem than you realize. Animals have and will continue to be used in many ways for human benefit/entertainment.

  18. #18
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    Default Whining x2

    I saw Utah's above post on (gasp) another forum. Verbatim.

    So ya moved up from Utah, huh. Well, welcome to you. I'm glad there are sportsman, not just greenies moving up here. You need to realize this, however, people treat or (mis-treat) fish like food up here. Yes, there are sports who do endless amounts of C&r playing with fish, but a lot of people are thinking one thing, this time of the year, fill the freezer.

    There's no excuse for kicking around fish, or wanton waste. But you won't find people doing much catch and release at places like lower Bird Creek. I'm sure they were after silvers, and the pinks were getting in the way. Wouldn't know, cause I'd never fish in a congested place like that. It's not really your job to try to regulate people's fishing practices. That's what we pay the brown shirts to do. We just need more of them to put the fear of the Lord in the creeps, which costs money. Also, we need more presence of outdoor educators in the schools, Boy and Girl Scouts, etc. If we don't hunt and fish with our kids, even when it is inconvenient, and incidentally take some fatherless kids (of which there are many) out with us, we may indeed lose our rights. But that will be by the voters of Alaska, not by the U.S. Government I think

  19. #19
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    Default Agreed...

    I mostly catch and release. I don't really like the taste of salmon, but love catching them. I don't play them to exhaustion, I crimp the barbs down on my hooks, I remove the hook as gently as I possibly can, revive the fish as recommended by biologists and respect the fish (and other anglers). I will also call ADF&G on any violators, I view it as everyone's duty to call. Having said all of that though, I have to admit that I would love to see a swordfight with fishing poles. It probably wouldn't last too long though, with the fishing line tangling the poles up, but the image of two guys (or gals) in waders en guard just cracks me up.

    Seriously though, I think its our job to help mother nature (not capitolized like its a diety on purpose) as much as we can, as well as ADF&G. If I see a violator of any type, and I'm in cell range, I will speed-dial ADF&G or the troopers. If I'm not in cell range, I'll annotate as much as I can, and realize that much less can be done.

  20. #20
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    Smile Sticking to the issue. . .

    Quote Originally Posted by AKBighorn
    The F&G person said it really didn't matter if we kept it or not, it was going to die soon! As most of us already knew this I guess I don't see what your point is about C&R not being ethical. Salmon are on their why to die SOON. However I absolutely do not agree with the practice of removing them from the water, kicking or otherwise molesting fish.

    Now on another note: If C&R is an unethical practice because you are using a fish for your enjoyment how about all the other practices that we use animals for. Just a couple of thoughts that come to mind.
    1.Zoo's
    2.Horseback riding
    3.Caged pets
    4.Aquariums
    5.Bull riding
    etc.etc.etc.
    I think that if you don't like C&R that is done in a respectable manner you have a much greater problem than you realize. Animals have and will continue to be used in many ways for human benefit/entertainment.
    First, that the salmon are going to die "soon" is no excuse for how they are treated in the meantime. Everything is going to die sooner or later. Quality of life between now and death is the issue. Whether or not c&r is the right or wrong way to use fish has nothing to do with when they're going to die. I'm going to die one day, and I certainly care about how I'm treated until then.

    Second, while the list above describes some uses of animals for human enjoyment, let's add cock-fighting and bull-fighting as well. Zoos, horseback riding, pets, aquariums, and bull-riding do not, by artificially contrived circumstances, force an animal to violently express its instinct to live, killing some in the process, as does c&r, cock-fighting, and bull-fighting. Zoos, horseback riding, pets, aquariums, and, to a lesser or marginal degree, bull-riding use animals in a way that is in conformity with their nature, doing them no intentional harm.

    Third, to accuse someone who objects to c&r of having "... a much greater problem than [they] realize..." is a personal attack, which removes the discussion from the realm of ideas. Ideas are fair game, people are not.

    All can likely agree that what UtahBoy observed is deplorable, a discredit to angling tradition and practice, and animal abuse. Past that, there's lots of room to share and talk over our differing ideas on ethics.

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