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How to Handle and Release Deep Sea Fish Responsibly

deep sea fishing key west

Deep sea fishing is a very exciting pastime that allows fishermen to catch large fish from the sea. However, this privilege comes with the obligation to ensure that when we are handling or releasing the fish, we do it in a way that will help them survive and at the same time protect marine habitat. This blog will provide an overview of how to handle and release deep sea fish properly to ensure that the sport is sustainable for generations to come and to ensure the health of marine ecosystems.

Preparation is Key

Do not go out into the sea without the right tools and information in your hands. Barbless hooks or circle hooks should be used to reduce the harm done to the fish and thus increase the chances of their release. Some useful tools and equipment to carry for releasing the fish are a pair of long nose pliers, a de-hooking tool, and a net or a cradle. It is also important to engage in research on the different species that are likely to be dealt with and the most appropriate ways of dealing with them.

Handling Fish with Care

When you have caught the fish, ensure it is not out of water for too long. Because of this, the fish is likely to get stressed, and the chances of its survival decrease when exposed to air for a long time. Always use wet hands or gloves when handling the fish as touching the fish with dry hands will strip off the protective slime layer hence making it prone to diseases. If possible, do not attempt to touch the gills and eyes of the fish as these areas are very sensitive.

Supporting the Fish

Hence, to support the fish, the person should cup it comfortably in both his/her hands, one under the belly and the other under the tail. This way, it is possible not to press on the internal organs of the fish too much. If the fish is too large to lift, use a large fish landing net or cradle to support it in the water while attempting to remove the hook.

Removing the Hook

You should use a de-hooking tool or a pair of long-nose pliers to free the hook and do it as fast and as carefully as possible. If the hook has gone deep inside the fish or if the fish has swallowed the hook, it is usually advisable to cut the line as close to the hook as possible instead of trying to unhook the fish which may lead to more harm to the fish. The hook will one day break down through rusting or be expelled from the fish’s mouth.

Depth and Compression

One of the major problems with deep sea fish is that the fish get barotrauma when they are hauled up from the deep sea because of the pressure difference. Some of the symptoms that are displayed include protruding eyes, inversion of the stomach, and a swollen belly. In its place, employ a descending device or let go of the fish to allow it to go back to its initial depth. These tools assist in pressurizing the fish again and in a way improve the chances of the fish surviving.

Educate and Advocate

It is also important for responsible fishers to ensure that they educate other fishers on the right practice of fishing. Pass on this information to other fishermen and persuade them to use proper handling and release methods. When you support conservation, you are making sure that deep-sea fishing continues to be a sport that can be practiced.

Key Takeaways

To protect the ocean environment and guarantee the future of deep-sea fishing, it is crucial to handle and release the fish responsibly. When fishing, anglers can ensure that the released fish have a higher rate of survival through proper planning in handling fish, removing hooks, reviving fish caught, and using decompression tools when necessary. Consequently, sensitizing other people about these practices goes a long way in protecting the precious ocean resources. Use these responsible fishing methods to have fun deep-sea fishing and preserve the rich marine life that makes it possible.


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