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Thread: Ethics while fishing

  1. #1
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    Default Ethics while fishing

    You land a fish it is hooked near the back of the gill plate approx 2 inches from the corner of the mouth. This is considered a snag and should be released. You take the hook out to release the fish, the fish is bleeding from the gills. Do you keep it and risk the fine or do you release the fish knowing it is going to die. What do you do?

  2. #2

    Default may not die

    The fish may not die. Have you seen how fast fish blood coaguates? Of course a good chance it will, but you have to release it by law, so if you are asking opinions, I would say I let it go and hope it lives.
    Hike faster. I hear banjo music.

  3. #3
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    Default Play by the Rules...

    Bleeding or not, stick to the regulations or you risk penalty...

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    Cool The spirit and the letter of the law. . .

    If the fish were legal, (size, species, season, etc.) I'd keep it. Unless Enforcement saw the incident, there's virtually no chance of a citation.

    The laws against snagging are aimed at "intent." So while it's true the fish was "snagged" in that it wasn't hooked in the mouth, it wasn't "snagged" by intent. Accidents happen.

  5. #5

    Smile To Release or Not Release

    Fish and Game Regulations provide guidelines on how to best manage and maintain fish and other wildlife in and around the stream. We must assume that the F&G understands the overall health of the stream and its wildlife better than we do.

    Do you keep it and risk the fine or do you release the fish knowing it is going to die

    Yes


    The fish may not die. Have you seen how fast fish blood coagulates?

    I agree, it has a small chance to survive, but it does have a "chance"


    Bleeding or not, stick to the regulations or you risk penalty...

    Exactly


    The laws against snagging are aimed at "intent." So while it's true the fish was "snagged" in that it wasn't hooked in the mouth, it wasn't "snagged" by intent. Accidents happen.
    If Enforcement does not see you fishing with barbed hooks, does that make it ok? Regulations should be followed for the overall health of the species and the stream.

    If you release a fish that has been snagged and it dies, it is unfortunate. However, that fish still helps the overall strength of the stream. Numerous other species gain benefit from the death of a fish.


    Another thought is you take your son fishing. You have spent time teaching him the rules and regulations of fishing so he can be a responsible fisherman. Then you accidentally snag a fish and are faced with the same situation. Your son is standing next to you when you snag this fish, what do you do now?

    Long and Short - Follow Regulations so we can continue to enjoy all the benefits of the stream.

  6. #6
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    Cool Regulating ethics. . .

    Another thought is you take your son fishing. You have spent time teaching him the rules and regulations of fishing so he can be a responsible fisherman. Then you accidentally snag a fish and are faced with the same situation. Your son is standing next to you when you snag this fish, what do you do now?
    Well, since I think keeping a bleeding fish is the ethical thing to do, I'd teach my son — and did — to do the same.

    It is the spirit and not the form of law that keeps justice alive.
    — Earl Warren

    Laws that do not embody public opinion can never be enforced.
    — Elbert Hubbard

    If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable.
    — Louis D. Brandeis

    You can't legislate intelligence and common sense into people.
    — Will Rogers

    No law can be sacred to me but that of my nature.
    — Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Perfect virtue is to do unwitnessed that which we should be capable of doing before all the world.
    — Franηois de La Rochefoucauld


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    Smile ethics

    Ethical questions are tough. Marcus seems to say that he is above the law if his personal ethics so dictate. He also seems to indicate that he would accept the consequences for his actions, if caught.

    I am not sure a society can survive when personal ethics take priority over those established in a free society. I can understand the issue he makes when it comes to racism or other forms of human abuse that have been legal in our history. However, this is a slippery slope one should travel with care.

    On a different note. Catch and release mortality can be a factor in setting harvest levels for a stock. In the case of pink salmon they have a poor spawner to adult relationship. There is a threshold to achieve but after that it becomes highly variable on the number of returning adults for a given spawning level - they are not like sockeye or coho salmon.

    Therefore, given that laws are a foundation of society, that I assume that the managers have taken the hooking mortality into account, and that dead fish do provide some positive to the system I would release the fish.

    My ethical standard is to maintain the value of regulations in society and have taught my children that laws are the lowest form of ethical standards but necessary for humans to function together. However, they are not absolute and should be changed via a free open society - that it may take a non-violent protest to make the change, that slavery took over 100 years to abolish so do not think changes happen quickly, and that they should examine their position to make sure they are on firm ethical grounds.

    I would have thought Marcus may have turned himself in for keeping the fish - is it ethical to just get away with it? Is that not two wrongs?

    Enough from me - biology and how to fish is much more relaxing.

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    Thumbs up Well said. . .

    You're right, Nerka, in that I'd accept the consequences if I were caught. That said, don't hold your breath waiting for me to turn myself in. I only look stupid. The Jewish scriptures cite the case of Rahab who lied to the civil authorities of Jericho and had her life spared by the conquering Jews as a reward. I don't need a fine to confirm my conscience.

    Agreed that laws can be the lowest form of social ethical standards. The Christian scriptures illustrate well the tension between social and individual standards as St Paul admonishes the church at Rome to obey the civil authority for conscience's sake while St Peter informs the Sanhedrin that one must obey God rather than men. Each of us, therefore, is ultimately answerable to conscience, however our conscience is informed.

    But surely you don't think that slavery was abolished by non-violent protest? U. S. Grant states in his memoirs that slavery was undoubtedly the cause of the American Civil War.

    All social law is society's notion of right and wrong, most usually in terms of economics, at any given time. Individual conscience may be in tune with, behind, or even ahead of society. In the end, the highest authority is conscience. We are all "above the law" in that regard. Unless, of course, one is a consistent materialist in which case the voice of the people becomes the voice of God — vox populi, vox Dei.

  9. #9

    Default To keep or not to keep

    This very question was asked during the newly required Kenai River Guide Academy last spring. The instrucors were representatives from Alaska State Parks, Alaska State Troopers and Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The answer offered was a resounding, "let the fish go". This activity is factored into the estimated C&R mortality, which is factored into the desired escapement goals. The fact of the matter is that it is the law and as citizens, we are bound by law. As Nerka alluded, there are mechanisms for changing the laws, and until those changes are imposed, we, as a society are obligated to follow the current law, if we agree or not.

    If everyone acted strictly according to their own personal morals and ethics, right and wrong would become relative. For example, it is now illegal to operate a motorized vehicle (even a boat or powered canoe) with a Blood Alcohol Content of 0.08% or greater. Not too long ago, that level was 0.1%. If I think that I can operate a vehicle at 0.2%, because that is my moral and ethical perspective on that issue, in a society where right and wrong are relative, I would not be breaking the law and technically could not be held accountable. Or, maybe I thought that I could operate that vehicle safely at 0.09% (which would have been legal not too long ago), again, with a relative, situational ethic, I could not be cited or prosecuted. Nevertheless, this law was imposed to protect society and self from the effects of operating a motorized vehicle while impaired. And though I may not feel impaired at 0.2% or 0.09% BAC (trust me, being a non-drinker... totally hypothetical), the fact of the matter, based on medical and practical research, the average person indeed would be impaired, with slow response times, impaired judgement (thus the feeling that I would not be impaired), ataxia, uncoordination, etc.

    To bring this back to the topic at hand, if the rules were relative and flexible, then because I thought it proper to keep a snagged fish, or to use my dip-net in the Kenai River outside of the PU fishery area (or outright used a gill net), then I could not be cited, arrested, or penalized, because there is not a definable line that was crossed. Likewise, if I felt that I could catch my daily limit, take it to my motorhome, process it and then catch my daily limit again (never violating the possession limit), then the sky would be the limit on the number of fish that I could catch in any given day. despite the biologically driven (and protective) daily bag and possession limits.

    Clearly, in the example stated in the original post, the fish was foul hooked, and therefore illegal to retain. The only answer is that the angler must immediately (and carefully) release the fish. If the hook is in the gills, do not remove the hook, but cut the line as close to the hook as possible.

    A similar situation is fishing for coho on the Kenai River on August 5, after the closing of king salmon fishing, incidentally hooking a king salmon with the smaller sized hook ingested into the gill causing injury and bleeding. Do you keep the fish because it is going to die or release it? Obviously, you let it go, as efficiently and gently as possible, trying your best to not cause further damage.

    And again, what about that 19" rainbow or dolly that is bleeding out of the gills? This fish is certainly not destined to die after spawning... Still, the law applies.

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    Default

    There is a chance a bleeding fish may survive if released.

    There is absolutely NO chance it will survive if you kill it.

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    Thumbs up Laws change often because of individual conscience.

    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus


    All social law is society's notion of right and wrong, most usually in terms of economics, at any given time. Individual conscience may be in tune with, behind, or even ahead of society. In the end, the highest authority is conscience. We are all "above the law" in that regard. Unless, of course, one is a consistent materialist in which case the voice of the people becomes the voice of God — vox populi, vox Dei.

    Marcus point of view is essential to our system of law. Law does not only develop through legislation. Generally applicable, neutral laws are often changed based on individual actions (whether consciously or not). Thus Marcus is correct that we are all "above the law" in some respect and in some situations. The legislature, and F & G for that matter, pass statutes and regulations based off a consensus of information. Sometimes that information is flawed -- either by slanted view points or incomplete info. The court system functions as a check on that system, where individuals disagreeing with a certain law have a forum to argue. Got to go.

  12. #12

    Default Anarchy is its name....

    A couple of mundane issues here clouded by flowery rhetoric. I do not believe the rules state snagging is based on "intent" but that intentionally snagging (or even attempting to do so) is illegal. Virtually all western states I am familiar with require snagged fished to be released....without differentiating between "intentional" and "accidental". The all to obvious reason is too many people cannot control themselves and would be out "accidentally" snagging fish all day long. To have any organzied society there has to be a rule of law or anarchy is the other end of the spectrum....just take a peak at Iraq. If we don't like the rule of law then our society has means to redress it.....but if you decide breaking the law is your choice the consequences must be accepted without complaint. Not sure teaching your child that what he (or you have taught him) is somehow elevated above the law simply because you disagree can be very dangerous....especially to him. If he develops your exact attitudes, ethics and persona....well he would be nothing more than an automaton of yourself....but if he goes a different direction (and children do that despite our best efforts) he may foster a disdain for anything he doesn't agree with. You either accept a civilized society or you develop anarchy. But when we are dealing with a triviality of releasing an improperly hooked fish we shouldn't be concerned this questions our basic moral fiber.

    Marcus....this a sore point with me personally as I worked for someone recently who felt exactly as you. As a result of "following his conscience" he lost his professional license and has essentially not done anything with his life since. He is one of the most intelliigent men I have known but due to his vast knowledge he truly feels everything that has happened to him is unjust. In appealing for return of his license he used many of the same quotes you have used.....and many, many more. But it has been a difficult lesson for him and I'm not sure how it will effect his young son.....time will only tell. He still feels justified in everything he did due to superior ethical standards on his part. Enough already.

    It's a fish caught illegally....whether intentional or not....needs to be released whether an enforcement officer is watching or not. I believe following law, when no one is watching, is a sign of strong moral character....am I wrong?

    Marcus....I don't write this as a personal attack but an alternative to your choice of action.....please do not take offense.

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    Default

    Well said, DocEsox.
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone."
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    The KeenEye MD

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    Default Profound posting...

    You guys knock my socks off!

    This has got to be the most erutite forum in the USA...

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    Smile Civil disobedience vs. anarchy

    Quote Originally Posted by DocEsox View Post
    Marcus....I don't write this as a personal attack but an alternative to your choice of action.....please do not take offense.

    No offense taken, DocEsox, there's substance to what you say. For what it's worth, I'm not an anarchist and support the rule of law, leaving room for occasional acts of civil disobedience as conscience dictates.

  16. #16

    Default

    Thanks Marcus....your act of civil disobedience makes me chuckle....reminds of my freshmen year in college at University of California at Irvine....we had a philosophy professor who was doing a section on disobedience and the mindset bringing about c.d.. As he lectured in this massive hall one fine morning...in through the door comes a butt, naked football player type with nothing on but a trojan helmet. He sprinted across the lectern, slapped a piece of paper down behind the professor and was gone out the other door. He received a 5 minute standing ovation from the class. As things simmered down the prof-philosopher picked up the paper and read it to the class. It declared streaking to be an act of civil disobedience and then proceded to list each point the professor had given for any act to be classified as c. d. At the end of paper, the streaker demanded an "A" for extra credit effort. Honestly we didn't know what the teacher would say....he loathed being disturbed during class, he looked up and said, "Well, I'd give him his A but there's no name on it." I guess many things, even trivial, can count as some level of civil disobedience. I bucked the status quo while in Dental school and managed to get a few small things changed......one has to pick their battles. I do understand what you're saying though Marcus.

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    Smile Some fine points. . .

    Quote Originally Posted by DocEsox View Post
    1) A couple of mundane issues here clouded by flowery rhetoric. I do not believe the rules state snagging is based on "intent" but that intentionally snagging (or even attempting to do so) is illegal.
    2) You either accept a civilized society or you develop anarchy.
    3) It's a fish caught illegally....whether intentional or not....needs to be released whether an enforcement officer is watching or not. I believe following law, when no one is watching, is a sign of strong moral character....am I wrong?

    Thanks, DocEsox — quite a story. Here are some further thoughts to keep the discussion alive:

    1) A snagged fish is a fish hooked anywhere but in the mouth, nor does the law differentiate between a fish snagged intentionally or by accident — snagged is snagged. However that does not mean that to snag a fish intentionally is morally equivalent to snagging a fish accidentally. Consider homicide. A person who kills intentionally is guilty of murder; a person who kills by accident is guilty of something far less. A homicide has occurred in either case, but it is intent that defines the deed.
    2) Civil disobedience does not equate to anarchy. A person can be quite law-abiding in general while disobedient in particular. As one instance, consider the case of Thoreau who went to jail for refusing to pay a poll tax.
    3) Following "law" when no one is looking is indeed an indication of moral character. But that's not the question. The question is, "Which law?" The law of society or the law of conscience in opposition to written law? The best we can hope for is that conscience decides our choice.

    Clearly Kaveman thought there is a moral question involved as to whether or not to release a snagged bleeder presumably otherwise legal or he wouldn't have posed the question. Some would release the fish because their conscience informs them that obedience to the written law is the right thing to do. Some would keep the presumably legal, accidentally snagged bleeder because their conscience informs them that that is the right thing to do.

    Finally, consider the countless little acts of civil disobedience that occur each year as citizens fill out their tax returns or exceed posted speed limits. If little acts of civil disobedience necessarily lead to society devolving into anarchy, the nation would have done so long, long ago.

  18. #18

    Default Overbroad

    Okay I painted some over broad brush strokes cause it looked pretty....don't think this specific dilemma will drive us back to the caves.
    This discussion really brings a similar one up in my mind about the killing of animal life in general. When I was raised fishing in Montana and Idaho in the 60's and 70's the example was set by my father, an unwavering moral and ethical man, and my uncle both who taught me to fish. But in this teaching they routinely would rip the hooks out of small trout and throw them back knowing that most would certainly die. And if you happened to encounter a squawfish (oh wait...that is a politically incorrect name now...they have made it the northern pikeminnow.....yeah) or peamouth or other "non-salmonid" it was either chucked on the shore to die or its gill rakers were ripped out so it would bleed to death. I was taught that is how we reduce the number of "trash" fish. As I got into my later teens my own little inner voice whispered that all of these fish have a right to be there and killing just to kill didn't feel right. So the squawfish went back into the water unharmed and I received many a haranguing from my father, uncle and brother for releasing these "worthless" fish. But I do love fishing, more than any other activity and occassionally have compunctions about fishing in general but unlike the PETA idiots I do understand the physiology of fish and their brain function....they do not perceive pain as we do....that salves my conscience. So I try to do as little damage as possible and only keep what I know we are going to eat. I have also kept fish in the past who struck lures but were hooked on the head, instead of the mouth, technically snagged, but I can't help it if they are shots hitting the food.

    Brian

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    Default It's not rocket science

    Wow! Along with AlaskanAuthor, I am also amazed and impressed with the depth of thought demonstrated by some of the people on this forum. Who'd of thunk it?

    However, aren't we getting just a little too philosophical for ourselves here? I mean, c'mon guys, we stand in the water for hours throwing hunks of metal and plastic at fish. I'm a bottom line kind of guy so if the regs say you cannot keep a snagged fish, you must release it. There is no great social impact by your following this particular regulation.

    Sketch got it right in his earlier post:

    "There is a chance a bleeding fish may survive if released.

    There is absolutely NO chance it will survive if you kill it."

    Period. (Now if I can just step down off my soapbox without hurting myself)

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    Red face Killing animals. . .

    But I do love fishing, more than any other activity and occassionally have compunctions about fishing in general but unlike the PETA idiots I do understand the physiology of fish and their brain function....they do not perceive pain as we do....that salves my conscience.
    However any animal "feels" pain, I doubt they "perceive" pain as we do. To my mind, the critical factor where killing an animal is concerned is our responsibilities toward them. Animals have no rights, they are helpless before us. Wendell Berry sums it up nicely: "We can not live harmlessly or strictly at our own expense; we depend upon other creatures and survive by their deaths. To live, we must daily break the body and shed the blood of creation. The point is, when we do this knowingly, lovingly, skillfully, reverently, it is a sacrament; when we do it ignorantly, greedily, clumsily, destructively, it is a desecration..." If we were really concerned about any animal's perception of pain, physical or otherwise, would we sanction and consume factory-farmed pork, chicken, or beef?

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