What is the most humane way to kill a fish? [ Tips and instructions ]

To answer the question ….the most humane way would be to let the fish die of old age.

But an argument may arise where the said fish may never reach that age due to the “eat or be eaten” environment of the sea. And some may say that the catching of the fish (and killing) is parallel to this harsh world. That is, the fish was destined to be “killed” or eaten by a bigger thing in the sea and catching this fish is just shortening its life by a short time.

NZ Government has been concerned about the management of its Fisheries and has been actively researching the age of its commercial fish stocks. This is done by “killing” the fish and taking the otoliths (fish ear stones) and counting the growth rings.

What is the most humane way to kill a fish?

What is the most humane way to kill a fish?

The Bluenose Kermadec [Maori name Matiri] [ Scientific nameHyperoglyphe antarctica] has been AGED up to 70 years old. That is significant, as it informs all fish catchers that these fish need to be well managed otherwise the fish stock could be fished out.

So it is important to determine wether you need to kill the fish you are actively seeking and if so then these numbers need to be controlled with good research providing the bases for the decision makers.

But for myself, if and when I have to kill a fish, I do it in the quickest amount of time. That is, as soon as the fish is out of the water, it is killed either with a sharp knife to its brain, or its neck broken and cut. This does two things, it drains blood from the fish’s brain quickly killing it and the broken neck quickly severs its brain stem to its body. I do not delight in this part and can only accomplish it straight after the initial catch. I have let a lot of fish go because I have let the “killing zone” elapse in my excitement of catching the fish and deem that the fish deserves to swim away, probably to be eaten by a big toothy critter.


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