Catch and release fishing policies might be doing more harm than good
Image Source: Debating Europe

Catching fish to eat is something which is being done, well since the time mankind evolved. But, fishing as a sport of a hobby is the recent topic of debate. Fishing done by sportsmen, who practice catch and release fishing policies and conserve the fish populations, is considered harmless. However, animal rights activists believe that such a practice is cruel and affects the health of the marine animal.

A hook is used to catch a fish, and while returning it to the water, the fish is de-hooked. Although the fish is released back to its natural habitat, a new study says that it feels pain and such practice may even doom it to death.

As per the study, published in the journal Experimental Biology, the injuries in the mouth of the fishes caused by hooks can damage its ability to eat. When the hook pierces into the mouth of a fish, the tissue in that area often gets damaged, at times very severely. The long-standing belief that fishes to do not feel pain in a similar way like humans or a few other animals is enough to cause severe damage to a fish’s lip. However, the study suggests that this is not the actual issue.

It turns out that the suction feeding mechanism of most of the fish used to suck in prey gets damaged due to the mouth injuries caused by fishing hooks. As such, a fish having hook injuries has significant difficulties to eat.

Even though the main aim of the study was to analyze the feeding performance of fish and the results are crystal clear, the real impact on the survivability of mouth injured fish wasn’t monitored. As such, a further study may shed more light on the impact on survival of fish having hook injuries. However, the very fact that hook-injured fish facing difficulties in eating suggests that in the long run, the results may be dire.

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