Fish Don't Feel Pain?

Matt4.0

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Just saw the article is a couple years old (and they didn't even link the actual research paper). Interesting though.
 

troutnut4

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If thinking that way works for you, than have at it. It shows even the intelligence of science seems to be missing at times. My opinion is that they do feel pain, maybe not in the same sense as humans but they do. I had the same discussion with an individual that felt that it was proper to shove a BB fork into a live lobster and roast him in the fireplace because he didn't feel pain! Get real. I'm happy for all those Brit cousins whose conscience can rest on this topic. Form your own opinion, this is mine. :D
 

silver creek

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Pain is the brain's psychological interpretation of a sensation. The interpretation of pain is located in the higher cortical areas of the brain. We know that by functional MRI imaging. These are located in areas that fish do not have. Therefore, it is impossible for fish to "feel" pain as a human understands pain,

They do feel the hook but they react in a very different way than humans would. They pull against the hook, a human would never do that. Pulling increases pain in a human. If fish feel pain, why do they pull against the hook?

Professor Rose of the Department of Zoology and Physiology wrote the definitive article on pain comparing the human brain with the brain of a fish in 2002.

The Neurobehavioral Nature of Fishes and the Question of Awareness and Pain

Subsequently a panel of researchers and neuroscientists determined in 2013, that indeed fish do not have the capacity to feel pain and extremely unlike that pain exits for fish. In fact, neural blockers of pain have no effect in fish because they do not have the brain structures that these blocker work on.

"In their research, scientists from Europe, Canada, Australia and the United States come to the conclusion that fish probably do not have the people like pain. The researchers found that fish, unlike humans, do not have a cerebral cortex and missing that other essential organoleptic prerequisite for a conscious experience of pain. In particular, the key for the pain C-Schadenszeptoren (nociceptors) are missing in all studied primitive cartilaginous fish such as sharks and rays entirely, and they are extremely rare in all bony fish such as trout and carp. Also show fish no significant behavioral responses when faced with horrendous human interventions. Most painkillers fail their service in fish. Prof. Dr. Robert Arlinghaus concludes, that "bonefish have no doubt with simple nociceptors, and they show self-evident reaction to injury and other interventions, including. on forward-avoidance reactions. Whether these are, however, perceived as pain, is not known and quite unlikely, in our research."

Google Translate

For fish to feel pain, an entirely different mechanism that gives fish consciousness is needed. Those who believe that fish do feel pain speculate that fish might have developed consciousness somehow without higher brain anatomy; but all of musings are speculative. Using what is known and demonstrated, the best knowledge is that fish cannot feel what humans and mammals know as pain.

Read what Wikipedia says about fish and pain especially the sections on neuroscience and neuroanatomy. Pain exist in the brain and is very different from a withdrawal reflex that occurs when a person is unconscious.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pain_in_fish
 

sweetandsalt

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We humans want to understand everything but also tend to anthropomorphize our perception of other animals. Trout have boney plate mandibular structure adapted to ingesting caddis larvae incased in little rock bits, crayfish and other gnarly organisms besides succulent little mayflies. Their brain is more a nerve ganglia monitoring pressure change, orientation in the water column, etc. than a complex thought center like ours. No doubt they do not "feel" pain, interpret light wave color or anything else like we do nor do birds or pet dogs, each having their own evolutionary developed senses.

Still, I have little doubt that in their own fishy way, it does not make their day to be yanked around by a non-understood hook or held out of their watery habitat to have it carefully removed (boy, the soft tissue mandibular structure support damage I observed on a high percentage of wild fish I brought to hand this past month seemed greater than ever). When you watch a male and female trout prepare a redd then writhe together, mouths agape during spawning it "looks" like they are experiencing pleasure...perhaps, for our quarry's well being, it is better if we indeed DO perceive they are experiencing their own, trout expression of pain. Will that make us less inclined to hoist them into the drift boat, yank out the hook via twisting it, hold them aloft forever for a two-hand-held-forward photo session, then drop them in the boat to flop about till the guide can pick then up in an effort to get them back in the water...well, in addition to pain, fish have no ego either.
 

GrtLksMarlin

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Since this can truly only be educated speculation (until fish can speak), let me pose this to you. Which would be worse "to you?" (any of you):

A. Someone out of the blue sticking you (no need to be graphic) and then running off.
B. Someone sticking you, and then dragging you by the wound down the road a 1/4 mile taking 10 minutes to do so, and during that entire time you are absolutely sure that this is it, you are going to be slaughtered as you fight and try to get away in absolute terror.

Now I won't speak for you yet I'll choose "B" as being worst. I would also struggle and fight to get away regardless of the pain (as to suggest that a simple wound would cause you to freeze up and quit is ridiculous for most).....Yet the worst of it would be the absolute terror that makes you not only struggle to try and get free then to flee, yet the fact I know in my heart I'm going to die horribly if I do not.

So the fear.

Believe me, hook me in the mouth and drag me along I'll try and fight it and if losing a cheek yanking against it is my only option to survive, well then I'll have a Joker's smile....Contrary to assumptions. Yet the fear by far would be the worst of it and if you have never experienced that degree of fear, my most sincere happiness for you, may you never.

So whether they feel pain, IOW interpret it the way we do I find a secondary consideration at best.

But hey, whatever helps someone get by is their business.....I on the other hand prefer to take full responsibility for my actions, just or no of no matter in that eternally questioning myself and regret keeps me from becoming a monster.

B.E.F.
 

wolfglen

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Fish eat snails, oysters *(not on the half shell, but crunched up in their mouths/throats, catfish, bluegills, stingrays,, sea urchins, crayfish, etc. and don't complain, they go back and do it all over again ten minutes later. Of course, people go out and willingly apply for next day's hangover again and again)

Pain vs. discomfort? I've been through a lot more pain than 99% of the population and it seems I still go back for more (How fully you live your life is directly proportional to the number of trips to the ER)

Getting caught and released is probably to them about like playing a football game or being in a boxing match, except that they don't know the outcome or the lack or reason.

If they could think and talk I'd imagine that they would tell you that getting caught and released on a barbless fly is a lot better than being gill netted and fried. Of course if they can't think, then why is it we have trouble catching them?
 

ohanzee

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The Daily Mail also once claimed that a 63 year old women became pregnant by eating calamari.
 

littledavid123

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Who is going to stop fishing if someone finally proves fish feel pain?

Who grew up thinking fish felt pain (just as we do) but fished anyway?

Dave
 

silver creek

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Who is going to stop fishing if someone finally proves fish feel pain?

Who grew up thinking fish felt pain (just as we do) but fished anyway?

Dave
Dave, it is not as simple as that. Fishing is NOT a right. It is a licensed sport and therefore is a regulated privilege that the government grants to it's citizens.

Some European countries do NOT allow catch and release, BECAUSE they believe fish can feel pain. The argument is that it is more humane to promptly kill the fish than to release it and then catch it again and again. Logically, this would make sense IF fish felt pain.

So whether fish actually feel pain or not is more than a theoretical discussion. If fish do feel pain, there is a moral obligation NOT to inflict pain. We apply that principle to warm blooded animals.

What then would be the ethical basis for catch and release fishing, that is, fishing for sport with the knowledge that the sport is based on causing pain? See:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catch_and_release

"In Switzerland and Germany, catch and release fishing is considered inhumane and is now banned.[5] In Germany, the Animal Welfare Act states that "no-one may cause an animal pain, suffering or harm without good reason".[6] This leaves no legal basis for catch and release due to its argued inherent lack of "good reason", and thus personal fishing is solely allowed for immediate food consumption. Additionally, it is against the law to release fish back into the water if they are above minimum size requirements and aren't a protected species or in closed season."

The logic is that we need to kill for food, and that is a legitimate reason to catch and kill fish. However, if fish feel pain, causing pain for sport is not a legitimate reason to fish.

Therefore, as fly fishers who practice catch and release, we should know biological basis of pain, so that we can defend our sport from those who would like to ban it.

Once you understand where our sport can be attacked and the privilege of fly fishing abridged, you will understand why the subject of "pain" is so important. Fly fishers would be on the short end of the ethical stick if fish truly felt pain.
 

littledavid123

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Well thought out reply Silver and I appreciate the time spent writing it. Not a fatalist here but considering the current junk science movement and how successful it has been. The only real deterrent (my opinion) to outlawing fishing is the size of our voting bloc. Granted we need rebuttals for the inevitable onslaught against our children (PETA comic books) and good science is a part of that, the ultimate goal should be maintaining our percentage of the voting bloc. However that creates overfishing, a real and current problem with no simple solution, but I degress.

If we become bogged down in the minutia, we loose. Sticking (pun intended) with the big picture and total recreation dollars spent keeps the votes on our side. Junk science will win the argument if votes or dollars spent is lost site of.

Dave
 

berg

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I completely agree that fishing to kill and keep a fish for food is more just and ethical than catch & release fishing. We kill to eat all the time and fish is some of the healthiest meat a human being can eat, it's perfectly justifiable that we'd fish in order to attain the meat. In my opinion, catch & release fishing is asking quite a bit of the fish, it has to put up with quite a bit physically and emotionally just to provide us with some entertainment on the water, and you could argue that none of us really needs to fish at all to be entertained, despite how much we all enjoy it.

That being said, I also feel that a fight with a fisherman/woman is one of least dangerous encounters a fish can have in the water; encounters with other fish, birds, and other predators being examples of much more violent ones, all of which likely occur more often as well.

That's why I feel there is relatively nothing truly wrong about catch & release fishing. Fishing teaches discipline, awareness, intent, patience, and above all respect, which ultimately stems from discussions like these. All in all, the sport of fishing, through charity work, preservation work, and the teaching of respect, has likely done as much or more FOR fish and their ecosystems that it has against them.

Just my two cents, I enjoyed reading others opinions as well.
 

old timer

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Let's leave it up to the fish. Ask it this question.

"Would you rather be caught over and over and released, or do you want me to bash your head in right now and i'll eat you?"

I'm guessing the fish will enjoy C&R after that.
 

wjc

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Old timer said:
"Would you rather be caught over and over and released, or do you want me to bash your head in right now and i'll eat you?"

I'm guessing the fish will enjoy C&R after that.
That's because you're an old timer and likely have been in severe pain for periods far longer than you thought you could endure - yet you survived it, as I did on several ocassions.

And like me, you are likely as thankful as I that nobody "mercifully" ended that pain with a quick blast of lead through the brain.

Even if fish do experience pain, it does not last that long. And if it happens often enough, they learn from it and change their eating habits. Ever wonder why old browns, and even old tarpon and bonefish in angler thick areas, start feeding at night or in deeper water? Bones never used to back in the '70's and '80's - they fed by tide back then not time of day, or water depth.

A good old salt friend of mine - an internationally known photographer - was telling me about shooting pictures of bonefish in backcountry bomb holes for a magazine. He was shooting while another guy threw live shrimp into the bomb hole to get them up to the surface for better pictures. All but one of the bones were greedily eating the shrimp without hesitation.

The one bone that did not join the shrimp feed had a hook sticking out of his mouth, and stayed well away from the fray. I don't think it was because of the hook in his jaw any more than I think bones began feeding in the dark because their night vision improved suddenly.

I've both seen and caught fish with multiple hooks in their jaws - though admittedly most were baracuda who clearly have tiny brains since they can snap large fish in half like a cleaver without getting a brain concussion.

So when I release a fish, I figure I am educating him rather than torturing him; and, like you say, Old Timer, I figure it's better for him than a frying pan. And I believe he would agree if he could talk or swear at me.
 

silver creek

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Since the link to the original Daily Mail article is dead, here is the Science Daily article:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130808123719.htm

Date: August 8, 2013
Source:Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V. (FVB)
Summary: Fish do not feel pain the way humans do. That is the conclusion drawn by an international team of researchers consisting of neurobiologists, behavioural ecologists and fishery scientists. One contributor to the landmark study was Prof. Dr. Robert Arlinghaus of the Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries and of the Humboldt University in Berlin.


This is how it works for humans

To be able to understand the researchers’ criticism you first have to comprehend how pain perception works for humans. Injuries stimulate what is known as nociceptors. These receptors send electrical signals through nerve-lines and the spinal cord to the cerebral cortex (neocortex). With full awareness, this is where they are processed into a sensation of pain. However, even severe injuries do not necessarily have to result in an experience of pain. As an emotional state, pain can for example be intensified through engendering fear and it can also be mentally constructed without any tissue damage. Conversely, any stimulation of the nociceptors can be unconsciously processed without the organism having an experience of pain. This principle is used in cases such as anaesthesia. It is for this reason that pain research distinguishes between a conscious awareness of pain and an unconscious processing of impulses through nociception, the latter of which can also lead to complex hormonal reactions, behavioural responses as well as to learning avoidance reactions. Therefore, nociceptive reactions can never be equated with pain, and are thus, strictly speaking, no prerequisite for pain.


Fish are not comparable to humans in terms of anatomy and physiology

Unlike humans fish do not possess a neocortex, which is the first indicator of doubt regarding the pain awareness of fish. Furthermore, certain nerve fibres in mammals (known as c-nociceptors) have been shown to be involved in the sensation of intense experiences of pain. All primitive cartilaginous fish subject to the study, such as sharks and rays, show a complete lack of these fibres and all bony fish – which includes all common types of fish such as carp and trout – very rarely have them. In this respect, the physiological prerequisites for a conscious experience of pain are hardly developed in fish.
 
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I think that most of us, including me at times, apply a human understanding to the world and lives of animals. Because it's all we know, we live our lives as humans but I think the question is not the fight of the fish but lets simplify this: the moment the hook penetrates the fishes tissue, do pain receptors go off and alarm the fish with our understanding and experience of pain which is a sign of danger?

Now with the things said before me it seems that that fishes don't seem to have the capability to do so because they don't have the "hardware" to do so. At least as to our knowledge. But I do believe that they have a sense of touch of course and feel the hook more like pressure that is foreign to them and takes control away from their normal movements, hence why they fight.

Think of it this way, if penetrating a fish with a hook is painful for a fish wouldn't it be just as painful, or more, to remove the hook? Especially the barbed ones? shouldn't we get fights as we remove the hook as well?
 
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