Thursday, October 13, 2011

Like a Fish out of Water

Frequently I walk along the riverside near my house, especially when I'm meeting some friends who live three subway stops away. Walking is great exercise and along the riverside, the car pollution isn't so bad; and then there's the bonus, many wonderful people are there and because we frequently see other, we have become on cheerful greeting terms. A couple fishermen at the riverside are there almost every time I walk past, and one guy joyfully greets me in bits of broken English and sometimes we chat a bit. [Once he even told me he thought I had lost 10 kilograms because I walk so much, and he was serious ... sometimes you just have to laugh!]

Well, today I happened along as another fisherman friend reeled in a fish. People stopped to watch him reel the sizeable fish in and land it to the cheers of his two mates. Once the fish was over land, one of the mates pulled the hook out but couldn't get a good grip on the flipping, thrashing fish so it ended up on the ground, giving higher and higher flips of its tail as it gasped more deeply for "air" each time. Eventually with friends and passersby laughing, the thrashing fish was retrieved and put into the fish cage to be thrown back into the water to keep it "fresh" (meaning alive) for supper tonight.

These guys, thankfully, aren't sport fishermen, guys who fish for the pleasure of hurting fish with hooks and deep cuts and then releasing them back into the water feeling like heroes and documenting their manliness on TV shows. These fishermen are actually fishing because they enjoy it, and when they catch something, it will go into the fry pan.

Somehow there's a difference in the reason for fishing on how much I disapprove of inflicting animal pain. Sports fishermen are insensitive and block any thought that creatures beside themselves can suffer pain; this goes for hooking the worm too, because a squirming worm is non-vocally yelling out for mercy, the same as a bloodied thrashing hooked fish. The fisherman who fishes for his livelihood and his dinner plate is understandable ... as long as the creature doesn't suffer beyond the time that it took for the fish to be reeled in. Just my big opinion!

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