Author Topic: Fish and pain  (Read 3130 times)

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Fish and pain
« on: April 30, 2003, 01:10:42 pm »
Research, published today, claims that fish feel pain. The research, by a team from the Roslin Institute and the University of Edinburgh, is published by the Royal Society, the UK's national academy of science.
Click here to read the report
Click here for BBC News Online's treatment of the story
So is fishing cruel?  Any local anglers have any views on this? Should it be banned? I realise fish have their own veterinary society, but does the RVC have any views on the report?

« Last Edit: April 30, 2003, 01:14:53 pm by admin »
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Offline jet

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.Re: Fish and pain
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2003, 07:08:36 pm »
As an angler for over 40 years my personal observation is that fish probably feel pain, they would need to be dead not to.
Tests based on injecting trouts lips with bee stings are hardly realistic though, the stress of being handled will affect their "recovery" time in any case.
It was reported that a 150 lb Skate was caught off Oban last week, tagged and released. It was then caught again 10 minutes later by a boat anchored 200 yards away ( all this in 200 ft water). This indicates that food is more important than "pain"
It is not unusual to catch freshwater fish, release them and catch them again shortly afterwards, I have read instances of 6+ times the same day and experienced it myself.
The front of a fishes mouth is very tough, it is designed for rooting about and in most instances dealing with live bony or spined prey.
It is of course essential that anglers treat their catch properly either returning them un harmed or killing them instantly if they are retained for the table.
In some instances after capture fish will lie quietly on the bottom to recover ( just like pet fish do after the tank is cleaned out) This is to allow the chemicals in the body which are released due to the effort to escape to dissapate, a bit like we humans experience after any form of shock to the system.
Considerate treatment of fish by anglers is now common and woe betide any one that ill treats these creatures in the prescence of most anglers.
Wether any creature should be used for "fun" is another subject, but without people wishing to catch them, they would like the Dodo be gone.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2003, 07:23:02 pm by jet »


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Re: Fish and pain
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2003, 11:44:05 pm »
Pain is a very personal experience and as such is a very difficult thing to quantify. You know how much pain you are suffering and you assume you know how much pain someone else is in from their outward reaction. Sadly, this is not reliable. As anyone who’s watched Italians play football knows, the outward reaction isn’t a reliable guide to the pain someone is actually in. Even quantifying your own pain to someone else is next to impossible, as I discovered when a doctor asked me to rate how much pain I was experiencing on a scale of one to ten. Having, thankfully, never experienced a pain of ten, I had no idea how much more pain I could possibly be in.

When it comes to other mammals, people tend to be guilty of anthropomorphic tendencies; cats sulk, horses gallop for joy etc. Although animals probably don't play act signs of distress. When looking at fish, or reptiles, where there are no “facial” expressions or “body” language to guide, people often go back to anthropomorphism and assume that a lack of visible distress means a lack of distress.

One could argue, as this experiment did, that checking the pain receptors is a good guide, but pain is not the real issue. It is the amount of distress we inflict on the animal that matters i.e. what the pain is like on a scale of one to ten. That can never be measured or tested without mind reading.

So to sum up. You can never really know the effects fishing is having on an animal, but we do know that it is a tedious activity, which is even less a sport than ice skating or darts and, due to the predominance of catch and release, is even more pointless than show jumping. The only good thing about it is that it keeps train spotters away from the stations at the weekend.

Offline jet

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Re: Fish and pain
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2003, 01:32:25 am »
True angling can be tedious especially if you have no imagination or ability to learn about the world around you.
I can guarrantee you all the excitement you could ever wish for during a sea angling trip in moderate weather.
There is peacefull social interaction with people of all ages, sexes, colours and creeds, all getting on together. An exciting trip on a small boat in the marine element, the chance of seeing a fish alive and not in batter together with the close proximity of sea birds that an ornithologist would die for. A great laugh and if you are fortunate a fish to eat that has been humanely killed not like the cod on your plate that was gutted alive or the farmed salmon which was part electrocuted before suffering a similar fate.
Problem is that ignorance proliferates due to comments which are made by people who repeat what they have heard and/or have no practical concept of what they are talking about, ie the cruel people who carried out these diabolically pointless tests.
Now thats an informed rant.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2003, 01:33:42 am by jet »