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  • 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
    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.

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    • #3
      Play by the Rules...

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

      http//www.alaskanauthor.com
      "Two decades researching and defining fishing opportunities in the Last Frontier!"

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      • #4
        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.

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        • #5
          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.
          Josh Cozby
          josh@blackrockcharters.com
          www.blackrockcharters.com
          www.blog.blackrockcharters.com

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          • #6
            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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            • #7
              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.

              Comment


              • #8
                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.

                Comment


                • #9
                  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.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    There is a chance a bleeding fish may survive if released.

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

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Laws change often because of individual conscience.

                      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.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        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.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Well said, DocEsox.
                          "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
                          sigpic
                          The KeenEye MD

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                          • #14
                            Profound posting...

                            You guys knock my socks off!

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

                            http//www.alaskanauthor.com
                            "Two decades researching and defining fishing opportunities in the Last Frontier!"

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Civil disobedience vs. anarchy

                              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.

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