Government considering gutting put and take fishing

The Danish centre for animal welfare, Det Dyreetiske Råd, wants the government to ban various forms of fishing, including put and take and catch and release

Sport fisherman and anglers around the country are holding their breath while the government considers recommendations from the Danish centre for animal welfare, Det Dyreetiske Råd (DDR), to ban various forms of fishing including put and take and catch and release.

Karen Hækkerup (Socialdemokraterne), the minister of food, agriculture and fisheries, said that she hadn’t made a decision whether to heed the centre’s advice, but was considering the options.

“Angling is a hobby that a lot of Danes enjoy in their leisure time, but it is important that we also remember the welfare of the fish,” Hækkerup said in a press release. “I look forward to reading the statement and evaluating the recommendations and we’ll take it from there.”

Put & Take ethically wrong
DDR released a press statement yesterday condemning, among other types of fishing, the practices known as 'put and take' and 'catch and release', arguing that the fish shouldn’t be experiencing harm and stress in order to support a hobby.

'Put and take' fishing is when fish are raised specifically and often industrially for the purpose of being released into a lake where fisherman can catch them, something that DDR laments. 'Catch and release' fishing is when anglers throw their catch back into the water.

“Det Dyreetiske Råd finds it ethically problematic to raise and release fish with the sole purpose of catering to a hobby," the recommendations found. “The fish have to endure extra trauma during the transport, release and catch, before they then die anyway.”

Catch & Release not sensible
Aside from wanting to ban Put & Take, DDR also wants to axe Catch & Release fishing, a practice often used in fishing competitions, where caught fish are released back into the water.

“DDR believes that there should be a sensible reason for fishing, and too catch a fish causing it trauma just for the fun, excitement and experience only to release it afterwards, is not a sensible reason,” DDR wrote.

Aside from recommending an end to Catch & Release and Put & Take, the centre also suggested banning foul hooking and fishing with live bait.

Fish should be caught to eat
DDR contend that fishing should be sustainable and safe and that all fish should be caught to eat.

“There are plenty of hobby fishermen who are critical of various fishing conditions today, but overall there is a need to break with traditions and obsolete perceptions of the responsibility one assumes when choosing fishing as a hobby,” Bengt Holst, the head of DDR, said.

In particular, DDR wants legislation passed that supports more gentle catch and release methods as well as active killing of fish that are to be taken home to eat.  They recommend voluntary courses and information be offered to educate fishermen. If that doesn’t work, then the courses should be obligatory.

Read the entire DDR recommendation report here (in Danish).