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Fish Feel Pain When Caught?

Dear Jim,

Do you think fish feel pain when they are caught?

Sarah Conter


Dear Sarah:

I hope you aren't an activist trying to corner me on this one. The following are just my opinions, since I really don't know.

The answer is 'no' as far as the mouth cavity and the lips go. Fish feed on all kinds of things that bite, scratch, poke, stick, and sting. It is logical, then, that Mother Nature gave them a way to catch prey without suffering for it. Looking at the membrane and bony structure of most fishes' mouths, one would think they would be relatively pain-free. Normally, an area that has nerve ending has a good blood supply, as well. The bulk of the mouth cavity in void of that.

On the other side, the answer would appear to have to be 'yes', IF they get hooked in the throat or gills. I also think hooks sometimes hit nerve endings that we can't see. I say that because fish that are purely mouth-hooked in the upper part (roof) of the mouth sometimes go rigid and die, with no apparent damage or blood loss.

I also think they feel some discomfort from being bounced around in the floor of the boat. And, I suspect there is a drying of the gills when they re held out of the water too long.

It is up to each person and his/her own beliefs as to the actions they take/don't take. I sort of consider it their right to their opinion. It is a bit like the homosexuals and lesbians groups with me - I care less what you think or what you do on your own and in your private life. Have all the fun you want.

Just don't come and try to throw it in my face, or make a spectacle of it for the children to see.


Jim Porter




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