Should Sport Fishing Be Legal?

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You might say why does this matter? Well, to begin with conserving and improving the fish population is important to earth, wildlife and people because it helps the sport of fishing alive, and fish conservation can help maintain nature’s balance. In addition, they also run down the food chain without fish then there would be none of our favorite delicious fish dinners. Although fish does not have to be consumed by everyone, but those who do love them, know that it benefits them because it provides food and nutrition. Fish play an important role in the ecosystem, if they were to go extinct then it can cause serious implications and can even jeopardies the entire ecosystem. Therefore, evaluating the importance and its impacts of preserving fish matters.

Description of Issue

Furthermore, sport fishing or in other terms seen as recreational fishing has become a major issue. One weekend going fishing with your family doesn’t make a big impact on the aquatic ecosystem but think about the other millions of families who are also fishing. That obviously has a significant effect of hooking a fish here and there and almost every time they kill them, they bring them to shore to be weighed or as trophies. But what they don’t realize is that recreational fishing has a big impact on fish stocks, yet little attention has been put into it. In the article “The Future of Recreational Fisheries” by Jacob W. Brownscombe it explains how “overfishing has been cited as a major cause of global fish population declines, often impacting entire aquatic ecosystems”. As a result of this, low fish stocks mean an increase threat to the aquatic ecosystem, overfishing, habitat destruction, unwanted catch and release, and disturbance to their environment. While the community has taken steps to reduce the cons of recreational fishing, the future of recreational fishing remains uncertain.

Arguments in favor

On the contrary, those who do agree that sport fishing should be legal because it has a health benefit, stress relief/self-fulfillment, thrill to it, and also contributes to conservation, First of all, it has a benefit which provides nutrition to individuals, “the role of recreational fishing in supporting nutrition (and thus food security) at regional, national or global scales is underappreciated” (Cooke, Steven J.). Although fast food restaurants might be convenient, why not eat something that’s healthy, burn those unwanted calories, and add years to your life. They provide a good health-related benefit for everyone who likes eating fish. In addition, it also gives individuals stress relief and self-fulfillment, “Technical progress in recreational fisheries may mask such dynamics as it enables unaltered angler behavior” ( Stoeven, M.T). Most anglers enjoy spending time outdoors, therefore when they’re fishing on a cool mountain surrounded by a pound it helps them release high stress from their everyday environment like work, children and responsibilities. Spending a day where its quiet, birds tweeting, and seeing a greenery view, allows them to enjoy interacting with nature which makes it so peaceful.

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Not just that, but fishing has a way of fulfilling. For instance, a boy who is fishing with his grandpa catches his first fish. Imagine the excitement in his face because he feels like he just accomplished something and right after notices how much fun it can be. Fishing is an activity that can be enjoyed that provides a thrilling challenge in it. Along with that, recreational fishing contributes to conservation, “anglers may contribute directly to conservation actions via user fees (e.g. licences)” (Cooke, Steven J.). In order to fish you must purchase a fishing license and pay taxes, those fees then go to help fund wildlife and conservation programs. In the same way, the fees boost the economy. It generates millions in state and local taxes and those fees support thousands of jobs such as wildlife managers, rangers, etc. In view of that, anglers are aware of the importance of clean water, air, habitats and want to protect and preserve the environment in order to be able to keep fishing, so they know that they have to care in order to keep doing what they enjoy, which is fishing.

Arguments against

In spite of that, those who agree that sport fishing should not be legal are due to a major factor that overfishing can lead to extinction of fishes. In fact, United Nations Food and Agricultural Organizations (FAO) said that “70 percent of the world’s fisheries as either “fully exploited,” “over exploited” or “significantly depleted.” Such has been the effect of overfishing” (Jetson, Krysten). Due to this problem, overfishing has been the main caused that the fish stock (fish population) has been decreasing. As a result of this, that means less food and jobs. Less food because there isn’t a lot of fish that can be purchased or sold, and less jobs because there won’t be a need of having so many employees trying to harvest fish, which means less income for employees. With this in mind, it can impact economically too. In addition, many may argue that fish do not feel pain or suffer. In this case it’s argued that fishing competition causes pain and stress to fish just by fishing, “Sneddon has repeatedly outlined the substantial evidence that fish feel pain in a manner similar to mammals” (Vila Pouca, C). Fish experience pain, just not the same way people do. It is cruel to make a fish suffer needlessly, just like it would be for any other animal. There used to be doubts whether fish could suffer, but nowadays most scientists no longer have these doubts. Partly because of this, the government has made a law that forbids fishing with live bait.

Not to mention, sport fishing anglers don’t think about smaller things that need to be taken into matter. For instance, the fishhook may puncture eyes, brains or gills of the fish. Individuals against this think it’s not about whether fish can feel pain or not it’s about showing respect towards the beauty of nature, which also means respect for fish. Moreover, anglers who accidently hold the fish too much force (this could occur because the fish is slipping from the hand and flopping) may damage the fish’s organs. Also, catch and release is sometimes not properly done. After taking off the hook they start bleeding and are simply tossed back into the water after being hooked over and over again. Why play a life or death game with them? Everyone knows that torturing a living creature of any kind, regardless of its mental capacity, is wrong. To sum it up, sport fishing has many negative impacts on the environment.


Given these points, I have come to the conclusion that I believe sport fishing should be legal. The more anglers that provide an economic boost to both the state and federal from fishing license’s revenue then the better because sport fishing creates jobs, which increases profit. Which increases the number of jobs, which are needed! I also believe that most of those who fish do it for pleasure and because they love that hobby, so why try to take something they enjoy? Sport fishing has been around for a long time, and even if it was banned it would be extremely hard to regulate because we all know we would still fish somewhere where rangers aren’t looking. I would hate to take away someone’s escape from relief and happiness. I do believe that conserving fish is important, but I also think there’s another alternative way on how to conserve them rather than just banning sport fishing completely. Alternative things like improving sport fishing regulations, for instance increasing fishing licenses, which may stop some individuals from purchasing it because it’s expensive, putting a limit to catch and release, and hiring more rangers to keep an eye at anglers on whether policies are being followed or not. These are just some alternative methods. In conclusion, I believe sport fishing should be legal for all of its positive reasons that comes with it.

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Should Sport Fishing Be Legal? (2022, February 21). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 17, 2024, from
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