The Most Humane Way To Kill A Fish For Eating


When that bass finally takes the lure for bass, the hook will set itself and the fish will feel pain right up to the point you hold the fish by your hands and remove the hook.

You must use the most humane way to kill a fish to minimize the pain. There are two main ways of doing this and it ensures that there is a little suffering by the fish as possible.

This is how to humanely kill a fish for eating.

The two main methods

Two main ways are used for stunning fish. These are percussion stunning or piking also known as pithing.

With percussive stunning, you will use a blunt tool to strike the fish on the head right above the eyes. You will be aiming at the brain and this should knock the fish unconscious. How much force you will use will depend on the size of the fish.

If you notice that the fish is not unconscious after striking it for the first time, hit it in the head a second time and this should do the trick.

The second method, known as spiking or pithing requires you to drive a sharp tool right through the skull of the fish and into the brain.

As soon as the spike pierces the brain, the fish becomes immediately unconscious. Then, move the spike from side to side to make sure that the brain is destroyed.

These two methods are fast and effective and will produce immediate results. Also, ensure that you have a good fishing knife close by as will need it to prepare the fish for the pan.

Do fish feel pain?

There has long been a general belief in the early years that fish are not sentient animals and can therefore not feel pain. However, after numerous studies by leading scientists, it is now understood that fish can in fact feel pain.

New studies that are easy to access now show that fish do suffer and therefore fishermen and anglers should use modern practices to minimize pain and suffering.

Such methods involve killing the fish quickly if you are planning on eating the fish. While catch and release sportfishing is unlikely to go anywhere any time soon, understanding that the fish do actually feel pain when they are hooked can be the catalyst to new ways of fishing.

Using underwater fishing lights has proven a great way to bring fish closer to the boat which reduces the amount of time that the fish spends on the hook.

Think about it, if fish really did not feel any pain then why would they run away at the first sight of danger? Even while survival is a major factor, what triggers the need to run is the possibility of harm and pain.

Methods such as percussion stunning are a great way to relieve the fish of any pain and suffering once you reel them in.

After you have dispatched the fish, you will need a fishing cooler to store the meat.

Once you have stunned or you have spiked the fish, you want to quickly bleed out the fish. You can do this by cutting the gill rakes or finding a major artery and cutting this as well.

Other methods are not considered humane. This is because they do not offer an immediate death to the animal and includes methods such as ice killing, using carbon dioxide in holding water, salt baths, ammonia baths, bleeding the fish out without stunning or by taking the fish out of the water.

Humane killing and meat quality


There has also been researching done that shows that when the fish is caught on a hook and is fighting profusely, the muscle tissues break down which reduces the overall eating quality of the fish.

This is why it’s important to reel in the fish and use the most humane way to kill a fish as fast as possible.  And to get a bit more scientific and technical, fish that has been pulled from the water has a low PH which is a result of the buildup of lactic acid in the muscles. This is from the fighting as you try and land the fish.

Remember to wear the right fishing shoes to prevent any accidents yourself when fishing.

Certain enzymes are activated by the low PH in the muscle fibers which breaks down the protein. Remember that the fish is also stressed which causes more stress compounds to be released into the blood.  This also lowers the fresh quality of the fish.

When you immediately kill the fish, you are going to prevent all this resulting in a much higher quality of meat. The best time span for killing the fish is within the minute after you have caught it. Simply catching the fish in a net and dragging it will not just lower the quality of the meat but it is also an inhumane way to kill the fish.

Using a spike or blunt percussion tool is the best way to kill a fish.

You do not have to spend too much to get the right tools for quickly dispatching the fish. If you prefer the spiking method, you can simply sharpen a screwdriver. Thanks to the comfortable handle, it is easy to drive the sharp end right through the skull of the fish.

Also always have the right lures for the type of fish you are after. If it’s trout, use the best trout lures.

On the other hand, if you prefer the stunning method, a small baseball bat will do just fine.

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It’s unnecessary to leave the fish to suffer before cleaning it and preparing it for eating. Instead, it is humane to kill the fish quickly to minimize the pain. Even better is that you are going to maintain its meat in the best eating quality.

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My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!