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Which is not a best practice when catching and releasing fish? : Which is not a best practice when catching and releasing fish?

Which is not a best practice when catching and releasing fish?

Key Takeaways

  • Keeping the fish wet and calm is a best practice for catching and releasing fish.
  • Avoiding removing the fish from the water more than necessary helps prevent stress and injury.
  • Supporting the fish in a landing net or cradling it gently helps reduce the risk of internal injury.

When it comes to catch and release fishing, there are several best practices that anglers should follow to ensure the well-being and survival of the fish. However, not all practices are considered ideal for the fish’s health and conservation efforts. Let’s explore the different best practices mentioned in the provided information and identify which one is not recommended.

1. Keep the fish wet and calm

One of the key practices when catching and releasing fish is to keep them wet and calm. This helps avoid stress, suffocation, and internal injury. By keeping the fish in water, their gills can extract oxygen, and it reduces the risk of damage to their delicate scales and skin.

2. Avoid removing the fish from the water more than necessary

Another important practice is to minimize the time the fish spends out of the water. This prevents the fish from experiencing excessive stress and potential injury. The longer a fish remains out of water, the greater the chances of damage to their gills and body.

3. Support the fish in a landing net or cradle it gently

Supporting the fish properly is crucial to avoid injuring them. Using a landing net or gently cradling the fish with one hand beneath its belly near the water surface helps distribute their weight and reduces the risk of internal injury.

4. Treat the fish gently, avoiding squeezing tightly

Gentle treatment of the fish is essential to minimize harm. Avoid squeezing the fish too tightly, as it can cause damage to their vital organs and internal structures. Squeezing can also remove the protective mucus that covers their body, leaving them vulnerable to infections.

5. Use wet hands or gloves for handling the fish

When handling fish, it is recommended to use wet hands or gloves. This helps reduce the loss of the fish’s protective mucus and prevents the transfer of harmful substances from our hands to their body. Wet hands or gloves also minimize the risk of damaging their delicate skin and scales.

6. Work quickly and calmly to remove the hook

Efficiency and calmness are essential when removing the hook from a fish. Using needle-nosed pliers, hemostats, or other hook removers, anglers can safely and quickly free the fish from the hook. This reduces the time the fish spends in distress and increases their chances of survival.

7. If the hook is deeply hooked, cut the line as close to the hook as possible

When a fish is deeply hooked, it may be challenging to remove the hook without causing harm. In such cases, it is recommended to cut the line as close to the hook as possible. This leaves the hook in the fish, but it reduces the chances of causing further injury during hook removal.

8. Let the fish fully recover before releasing it

Before releasing the fish, it is crucial to ensure that they have fully recovered. This includes observing their gills opening and closing, indicating that they are adequately ventilating. Releasing a fish prematurely can reduce their chances of survival.

9. Consider moving the fish to calmer water if released in fast-moving or turbulent water

In some cases, it may be necessary to move the fish to calmer water after releasing them. Fast-moving or turbulent water can make it difficult for the fish to regain their strength and swim away safely. By moving them to a more suitable environment, their chances of survival increase.

10. Choose the right gear and tackle

Selecting the appropriate gear and tackle is crucial for sustainable catch and release fishing. Using circle hooks, barbless hooks, or hooks with crimped barbs can increase survival rates and make hook removal easier. It is also recommended to use non-stainless steel hooks that will corrode and fall out over time if a fish or other wildlife is accidentally hooked and escapes.

11. Use wet, soft knotless mesh or rubber landing nets

Minimizing damage to the fish during landing is important. Using wet, soft knotless mesh or rubber landing nets can prevent injuries to their fins and scales. These nets reduce the risk of tangling and provide a gentle landing surface for the fish.

12. Use release tools and minimize handling

Using release tools, such as dehookers, can minimize handling and make it easier to release fish without removing them from the water. Minimizing handling reduces stress and the chances of injury to the fish. Additionally, if a fish is deeply hooked and the hook cannot be easily removed, cutting the line close to the hook is a better option than causing further harm.

13. Minimize air exposure and handle fish with wet hands

When removing a fish from the water, it is important to minimize air exposure. Keeping the fish out of the water for less than 60 seconds reduces the risk of damage to their gills and overall stress. Handling fish with wet hands, while avoiding touching their eyes and gills, helps protect their sensitive tissues and reduces the likelihood of infections.

14. Support the weight of any fish removed from the water

If a fish needs to be removed from the water, it is essential to support their weight along the length of their body. Suspend a fish by its lip or mouth can cause severe damage to their jaw and internal organs. Proper support ensures their well-being and minimizes the risk of injury.

15. Resuscitate a sluggish fish and release fish suffering from barotrauma

Resuscitating a sluggish fish by facing it into the current until it regains strength and can swim away on its own is important. Additionally, fish suffering from barotrauma, a condition caused by rapid changes in pressure, should be released at depth using recompression tools like descender devices, release weights, or release baskets. If releasing at depth is not feasible, venting the fish may be an option using established guidelines.

After reviewing the best practices mentioned above, it is clear that there is not a specific practice that is considered incorrect or not recommended when catching and releasing fish. Each practice serves a purpose in ensuring the well-being and survival of the fish. However, it is important to note that there may be specific regulations and guidelines in different fishing locations that anglers should follow to protect the fish population and ecosystems.

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Q: What is catch and release?

Catch and release is a fishing practice where anglers release the fish they catch back into the water instead of keeping them. It is an important conservation effort to maintain healthy fish populations and promote sustainable fishing.

Q: What are the benefits of catch and release?

Catch and release plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy fish populations. It helps in preserving breeding stock, improving genetics, and allowing fish to grow and reproduce. By releasing fish, anglers contribute to the overall sustainability of fishing.

Q: How can I practice catch and release effectively?

To practice catch and release effectively, it is important to use appropriate tackle and gear that minimize harm to fish. Use barbless hooks for easier hook removal and proper fish handling techniques such as avoiding touching the fish with dry hands or rough surfaces. Keep the fish in the water as much as possible to minimize stress and prevent suffocation.

Q: Is delayed release recommended for catch and release?

No, delayed release is not recommended for catch and release. Keeping fish out of the water for extended periods increases the risk of delayed mortality. Excessive handling, taking photos, or waiting for others to witness the catch before releasing the fish can also harm the fish. Releasing fish promptly after capture is crucial for their survival.

Q: What should I avoid in terms of fish handling?

Avoid incorrect fish handling techniques or holding the fish in a harmful posture. Improper support, excessive squeezing, or bending of the fish’s body can cause harm. Fish have vulnerable internal organs, so it is important to avoid unnecessary pressure or stress.

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