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The Great Debate

Aug 18, 2007
It all comes down to a basic question. What is fishing? Its it a sport, or a hobby? Is it about killing or sharing a life tradition? Is it for ego or survival? Is it fun or cruel?

Depending on your answers to the questions you will have a definite side to take when it comes to the great debate in fishing: catch and release. The program for catch and release fishing started in the early 1950's to conserve fish in natural water ways. Although over half a century has gone by, people are still arguing about the controversial environmental effort.

Opponents

Opponents to the catch and release idea say that its morally wrong to put the fish through pain, stress and possibly death simply for fun or sport. If the fisherman doesn't eat the fish, their thinking is, then they are simply torturing the animal for their own ego and enjoyment. People opposed to catch and release also point out several British studies that show fish do feel pain in their mouths and lips, and take a great deal of effort to show the stress it is for fish to be hauled out of the water, handled, then put back in, often with wounds from the hooks used in fishing. To opponents of this program competition and recreational fishing are simply a cruel hobby with no regard or respect for the life of the fish.

Proponents

People in favor of catch and release programs say it is their great respect for nature and fish that drive them to participate in fishing in this way. They claim fish do not feel pain in the mouth and lips as evidenced by the type of food they eat, and by the fact that you can catch the same fish several times - showing they were not in pain after the first catch.

Many proponents use barb-less hooks and claim the damage to the fish is minimal and most fish live after being caught and released. They also point to the program as a way of saving fish for people who need to eat them, or for an ecosystem that relies on their numbers. To proponents of catch and release, fishing is a cultural treasure passed from one generation to the next which should be cherished and preserved through catch and release fishing.

Conservation

As much arguing as goes on between the two sides, you would never know that World Wildlife Foundation and other conservation oriented groups have already determined catch and release to be a needed entity in the world of recreational fishing. There are simply too many fishermen and too low a population of fish for them to be taken and eaten all the time. Since banning all recreational and sport fishing would not be an acceptable solution, catch and release represents the best method of cooperation between wildlife advocates and recreational anglers.

Fishing offers many good traditions, traits and memories. Catch and release is an age-old programmed designed to help families enjoy this past time for many years still to come.
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James Brown writes about DicksSportingGoods.com coupon code, The Sports Authority discount codes and GIJoes.com coupon code
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