Home Fishing Does Fishing Hurt Fish? What You Need To Know

Does Fishing Hurt Fish? What You Need To Know

Does Fishing Hurt Fish? What You Need To Know

Fishing has long been a common pastime and food source for many cultures worldwide. The effect of fishing on fish populations has drawn attention, though, as worries about animal welfare and environmental protection keep growing. Whether fishing hurts fish is one of the critical queries that come up.

Fishing can physically harm and stress fish, affecting their ability to reproduce and survive. However, sustainable fishing techniques, like catch-and-release fishing and selective fishing, can lessen the damage to fish populations and support their long-term conservation.

Fishing will be thoroughly examined in this post.

Does It Hurt A Fish When You Hook It?

It has been proven by numerous investigations that fish are capable of feeling pain. In actuality, trout have pain receptors that resemble those found in mammals. In catch-and-release fishing, a hook cuts a hole into a fish’s cheek, possibly causing the fish significant agony when caught.

In addition to the physical anguish of being hooked, the victim also experiences the exhaustion of fighting against being hauled out of the water, the fear of suffocation while unable to breathe, and the agony of being flung back into the water.

One of the most dangerous large-scale enterprises is commercial fishing. According to an estimate, 5 million fish are killed daily due to large-scale commercial fishing.

The commercial fishing business harms many species, not only fish. Along with the billions of fish mistakenly killed yearly, bycatch continues to be a significant issue, killing countless creatures. About 20,000 dolphins yearly are killed by bycatch in the Atlantic French Coast alone. These dolphins get entangled in the fishing nets, become exhausted, and frequently pass away from their wounds or exhaustion. 

Refusing to kill fish in large quantities would limit bycatch, as well as the harmful impacts of trawling on marine vegetation and the continued devastation of ocean ecosystems, which store a crucial amount of the world’s CO2 and aid in battling climate change.

Is Catch And Release Fishing Cruel?

Depending on the species being captured and the conditions of the catch, the mortality rate linked with net and release varies greatly. Between 5 and 30 percent of fish that are handled as carefully as possible are thought to die soon after being caught and released, according to estimates.


The fish battle is one fishing aspect that fans often discuss. The fish is trying to resist the fisherman’s hook and pull while struggling to remain in the water and avoid being dragged to land during this struggle.

The risk that the fish may die or be eaten upon returning to the water rises with a lengthier fight on the part of the fish due to higher tiredness at the time. After a protracted battle, fish discharged immediately without time to recover are more likely to die.

Time Out Of The Water 

Fish cannot breathe air like mammals and other species do; instead, they draw oxygen from the water that flows over their gills. It implies that a fish cannot breathe when out of the water.

Taking pictures of the fish is a regular component of catch-and-release fishing, frequently with the fish dangling several feet above the water. This process may appear quick to the person casting. Still, every extra second could mean the difference between life and death to the fish trying to breathe.

Watch this video to witness a fishing event:

The world’s richest sportfishing event: Bisbee’s Black & Blue marlin tournament


The method used to handle a fish when it is captured may impact how long it lives. Their skin significantly influences the health of fish. Being caught dramatically increases the chance of harm to the skin’s natural protective mucus layer and the skin itself.

Fish skin damage and an increased chance of death after release can result from handling them with dry hands, putting them on almost any dry surface, and putting them on ice.

Is Fishing Bad For The Environment?

Killing fish significantly affects the fish themselves and the ecosystem they live in, the species that depend on them for life, and the environment as a whole.

Fishing Gear Hurts Wildlife

About 10% of all the plastic pollution in the oceans is from fishing gear. It amounts to a total annual loss or disposal of fishing gear in the seas of 500,000 and 1 million tons. As it harms fish, animals, birds, and other marine creatures without discrimination, this gear is among the deadliest plastic waste on the planet. These animals succumb to weariness and asphyxia, dying slowly and with great pain. In addition to harming vital ocean habitats like coral reefs, abandoned fishing gear also eliminated animal habitats.

Using Smaller Fish As Bait For Larger Fish

Although it is a lucrative industry, using tiny fish known as baitfish to catch larger fish carries environmental dangers, such as the disruption of ecosystems caused by the introduction of numerous new species.

Fishing Changes The Trait Of Fish 

Most people want to capture the biggest fish possible. However, this strategy removes the older fish, leaving only the younger or more delicate species. Since smaller fish often have fewer and weaker offspring than larger ones, the total number of fish will likely remain the same.

Fishing affects more than just fish size. Researchers are still figuring out what this means for fish population evolution and behavior and any features that affect the likelihood of catching fish.

Sensitive Biomes

Every fish species has a significant impact on its surroundings. For some species, they can serve as predators, while for others, they can serve as prey. The fragile equilibrium of their native biomes is threatened by fishing when too many fish are caught. Their natural predators have a more challenging time finding food, which causes their populations to decline. In contrast, the species that the fish would generally consume can reproduce more quickly because there are no natural predators to keep their people in check.

Is Having A Fish Tank Cruel?

Fish are social creatures that can connect and experience emotions and pain. Very few fish in the wild spend their entire lives in tanks worth of water. A casual fish owner can even fall for the marketing gimmicks of big-name retailers who sell tiny half-gallon tanks that fit easily and comfortably on desks, countertops, or bedside tables, providing their pet with little space to swim and explore.

Even fish hobbyists with big tanks frequently lose fish due to overcrowding and surroundings missing the variety of habitats that fish would naturally explore in the wild. Since 95-99% of saltwater fish are taken out of the wild, keeping a fish tank also involves environmental concerns. Because of the increased demand, some fish species may go extinct or experience localized depletion.


Fish populations may suffer harm from fishing, including physical damage, stress, and disruption of reproductive processes. Particularly in the commercial fishery, substantial mortality rates and impairment to the marine ecosystem might follow.

However, using sustainable fishing techniques, including catch-and-release methods, selective fishing tactics, and the introduction of fishing restrictions, can aid in reducing these effects and advancing the long-term conservation of fish populations.

To preserve the survival of fish and their habitats for future generations, it is crucial to strike a balance between our desire to go fishing and appropriate environmental care.