I'm really tired of seeing a photo of some grinning tourist showing off a bleeding, dead or dying fish in every issue of the NCJ (Fishing). These photos are disgusting, disrespectful and insensitive. In one case, the photo (of a salmon) immediately followed an article on the impacts of the salmon fishery collapse on the Yurok Tribe. Yikes!
I suspect the NCJ would refrain from publishing equivalent photos of deer or ducks; at least I've never seen any. So why fish? Because they have gills and can't close their eyes? Numerous studies have shown that fish can feel pain and fear, have complex social lives, and are at least intelligent enough to recognize individual humans. Google "fish feelings" and you'll find plenty of inconvenient truths relevant to our treatment of fish.
I also think we should consider what kind of message such photos send. To me, they condone the enjoyment of killing. There are well-documented links between cruelty to animals and violent crime, including mass shootings. I'm not suggesting that fishing is a gateway to mass murder, but animal abusers all share enjoyment of, or at least indifference to, animal fear and pain. It's an unfortunate fact of life that people gotta eat. I get that. What people don't gotta do is feel good about the taking of sentient lives that eating often involves.
Mr. Priest could get his information across just as well without the photos. They're gratuitous and make his articles look like advertising. He'd have room for even more information without them.
If I want to see photos of "sportsmen" posing with the animals they've outmuscled or outwitted (and if it isn't abundantly clear by now, I don't), I'll pick up a copy of Field & Stream. I don't need them in the NCJ. Just stop. Please.
Ken Burton, McKinleyville
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