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Old 07-27-2011, 12:19 AM   #1
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Fishkeeping ethics

Just wondering about everyone's position on what is ethical when it comes to fishkeeping. I often see posts concerned with the welfare of fish, whether it be overcrowding, potential toxin spikes in uncycled tanks, or even humane methods of euthanasia.

Yet it is still common to have feeder fish, who tend to live a short life in sub par conditions prior to being chased around and eaten alive.

We often allow fish to cannibalize their young, which is often due to being kept in the confined area of an aquarium.

Some of us like catching fish in the wild by putting a hook through the mouth, which is not only inhumane by basic fishkeeping standards but also cruel, since we do it for sport.


So, what makes 1 fish better than another?
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Old 07-27-2011, 12:59 AM   #2
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Interesting question ... you bring up a good point. I find that its a matter of cost and or value we place on the fish. If it's a fish we pay for to promote our hobby, then it's one we are more likely to treat more humanely. Sometimes we buy inexpensive feeder fish to feed the larger predators. The feeder fish may not seem humane, but it's justified because it's to feed the main display fish.

Fish that don't cost us anything .... like those in a lake or river, we may not think twice of unhooking it then either tossing it back or having it for dinner.
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Old 07-27-2011, 01:18 AM   #3
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For me it is not about money. It is just about the Fish. For example I have 6 dollar fish, and goldfish. I don't like the Goldfish less do to being 15 cents .

I think it is just how well we "know" the fish. If I get some fish from the store I don't know his story. I don't remember when I first got him home , I don't remember how he loves that one spot. I don't remember how we watching my play Punch Out. When I get fish from the store all I remember is how good they taste with vinegar .

PS: I ddon't like the idea of a feeder fish. That just seems so mean.
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Old 07-27-2011, 01:37 AM   #4
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Another ethically questionable practice along fishkeeper lines, using live bait while fishing. Not only does that use a fish as a feeder, but also puts hooks into them to live out their last moments struggling to get away from predators out in the wild.

I also know that in my years of fishing (i still fish, a lot), the kept fish are often tossed into a cooler to die, sometimes the cooler has ice, but if the weather is cool, then no ice, so they are subjected to a fairly painful demise.

The only time I've ever quickly euthanized a fish was while in a boat or on a pier, to keep them from getting blood everywhere, or from flopping around and damaging things. With pelagic fish like mackerel and bonita, that involves grabbing the fish by their bony tail and smacking them against a hard surface.

Just some things that aren't often thought about.
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Old 07-27-2011, 01:37 AM   #5
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Jeta, I was wondering the same thing earlier as I read the posts on euthanasia. I enjoy the fish we have in our tank but think nothing of eating fish regularly. I also think the deer in my yard are beautiful and yet yearly my husband kills one for us to eat throughout the winter. For me it boils down to this... I try to maintain a sense of balance. We don't kill things that we don't eat (no trophy deer for us) and we try to treat the animals in our care with the utmost concern. We try very hard to do as little harm as possible. We have euthanized dogs to prevent further suffering, as well as put down cats hopelessly mauled by wild animals. We always do so with kindness and make sure that they are treated gently throughout their ordeal. In a day and age where people's meals come pre-packaged in the supermarket, people (especially young folks) tend to forget where food comes from. It leads to a very soft and fairly biased view of the world.
Nature can be harsh. I certainly don't condone the mistreatment of animals. But if we were to do what was actually best for any of these animals, we would leave them in the wild where they belong and not force them into unnatural conditions in our tanks for our selfish enjoyment. Since we choose not to leave them be, each of us must do the best we can....with what we have.
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Old 07-27-2011, 02:11 AM   #6
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Interesting question and very well put Maya.

To me it comes down to animals I consider "in my care". If I go out and purchase or bring a living animal into my home...I take direct responsibility for it's welfare and overall quality of life.

There certainly is a level of hypocrisy I assume...I consume steak, sushi and other meats in massive quantities...but at the same time I write checks out every month to the ASPCA and local animal shelters. Personally I don't hunt or fish simply because it is not something I have interest in and am incapable of experiencing enjoyment from taking life...but also because there are foods available where I basically don't have to do the deed myself (also a form of hypocrisy). Feeder fish is another example of something I will never be involved with because I view it as unnecessary in most cases where there are commercially available foods to feed the fish you keep...but I can only guess how those foods are produced and would rather not know TBH.

At least in the wild nature takes it's own course as it has for millions of years (usually without our interference). When I put fish in a glass box, or my dogs are brought into my house...I view it as our duty as responsible adults to do our best to provide them with the most suitable and healthy environment we can offer. Which again...when we remove animals from their natural environment and take dominion of them (perhaps also considering dogs who have been domesticated as our servants)...another variation of hypocrisy.

All that said, I do feel like the animals in my care will live a happier and less stressful life than the alternative than they would in their natural environment, but again...that would be considered..........
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Old 07-27-2011, 09:05 AM   #7
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as a avid fisher and aquariest , there is a big difference between the my pets the fish i catch and the live bait i use . My pets get the best of care i can give them , I strive to give them cleanest water possible and the best quality foods.

as far as fishing is concerned I do my best to be a ethical angler. I follow all laws on legal size and bag limits . i do my best to get the fish back in the water as quickly as possible to reduce stress as much as i can

I do bass fish for sport and practice catch and release and I can tell you catch and release works . Ive caught the same fish twice in one day and ive also caught bass with hooks and luers in there mouths
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Old 07-27-2011, 11:01 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eco23 View Post
To me it comes down to animals I consider "in my care". If I go out and purchase or bring a living animal into my home...I take direct responsibility for it's welfare and overall quality of life.

.
I agree, since I've been fishing/hunting since I was a kid(still do 3-4 times per week) but have no moral issues using panfish for cut bait, large golden shiners, or tossing fish onto the ice when icefishing but would certainly have a hard time treating my oscars and such in the same fashion.

I'm mainly a bass angler throwing lures and practicing catch and release but when crappie, panfish, or walleye fishing ethics are out the window when it's time for a fish fry. So the sense of ownership plays a vital role for me personally.
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Old 07-27-2011, 11:23 AM   #9
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Old 07-27-2011, 02:37 PM   #10
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I agree with that, we place value on things we care about. Everyone draws the line differently.

Life doesn't have equal value, at least by our standards.
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