I like fish, but I don’t like fishing.
I’ve no problem at all tucking into a big slab of poached salmon (just did), or catfish sauteed with garlic and tomatoes, or any number of other finny feasts. On the other hand, I consider fishing for sport barbaric and, essentially, torturing animals for amusement. Is this hypocrisy? Not necessarily.
I lived on a farm where we literally fished for food (or, rather, the adults did). Fishing, to me, was standing in the hot Florida sun on the side of a two-lane blacktop road, bored stiff and watching a couple of adults sit and try to catch fish. There was no sport involved. A trot-line (set line with baited hooks that is temporarily unattended) was just as effective as a cane pole, and a mess of bream was appreciated just as much as the occasional channel catfish or bass. Foraging for food is foraging. It may have been sport to my aunt and uncle, but it wasn’t to me.
This no doubt affected my overall outlook. You can count on the fingers of both hands — possibly one hand — the number of fish I’ve personally dragged out of the water. I just don’t “get” fishing.
I have no problem with fishing for meat, any more than I do with hunting for it. I’m fully cognizant of the fact that animals need to be culled and that, in the absence of natural predators, it’s up to us to do the job*. If people are willing to spend all that time, money and effort to make up for the absence of the wolves and panthers their ancestors persecuted to the brink of extinction, it’s OK with me. Furthermore, most hunting kills are relatively clean, assuming that the hunter isn’t a complete klutz. Competent hunters don’t shoot unless they’re sure of a kill.
But so-called “sport” fishing — trophy hunting or catch-and-release fishing? As far as I’m concerned, the people who practice it should be hooked through the cheek and dragged around for fifteen or twenty minutes, then held underwater for two or three minutes more while the fish take pictures, and then released into the boat to survive or not — no first-aid allowed. If they still feel like pursuing their “sport” after that, at least they more-or-less earned it.
*Whether or not there is a fishery left in the world that needs culling is an issue that I will leave up to more knowledgeable folk, although I’d be amazed. We seem to have trashed them pretty well.