Is It Okay to Kill Billfish to Weigh Them?

Back in the day: A day’s catch of marlin hangs at the dock. During the first half of the last century, such sights weren’t uncommon. There’s a far different sensibility today, widespread if not yet universal. Should you happen to be among a mixed group of offshore angling enthusiasts and want to stir things up, loudly proclaim that you believe no billfish should ever be killed for the sake of a possible world record — or, conversely, say that killing a billfish for the sake of a possible record is justified. Play Video Play Loaded: 0% Progress: 0% Remaining Time -0:00 This is a modal window. Foreground --- White Black Red Green Blue Yellow Magenta Cyan --- Opaque Semi-Opaque Background --- White Black Red Green Blue Yellow Magenta Cyan --- Opaque Semi-Transparent Transparent Window --- White Black Red Green Blue Yellow Magenta Cyan --- Opaque Semi-Transparent Transparent Font Size 50% 75% 100% 125% 150% 175% 200% 300% 400% Text Edge Style None Raised Depressed Uniform Dropshadow Font Family Default Monospace Serif Proportional Serif Monospace Sans-Serif Proportional Sans-Serif Casual Script Small Caps Defaults Done Either way, you might want to keep your head down because things could get ugly. On the one hand are those who feel that any angler has the right to keep (kill) any fish any time, as long as it’s legal, and it’s really no one else’s business. At the other extreme are folks — anglers and nonanglers alike — who believe there’s simply no justifiable reason to kill a billfish (and particularly if to be hung from a scale for the purpose of getting a weight). For example, U.K.’s dailymail.com not only announced the feat but in the same breath questioned it in this interminable headline: “Mates land biggest-ever blue marlin caught in Australian waters weighing 494 kg after two-hour struggle — but shouldn’t they have tagged the fish and let him go?” (Never mind that the fish was in fact a she.) At the same time, Harnwell suggests that he would have much preferred seeing the fish tagged and released.
Is It Okay to Kill Billfish to Weigh Them?

Back in the day: A day’s catch of marlin hangs at the dock. During the first half of the last century, such sights weren’t uncommon. There’s a far different sensibility today, widespread if not yet universal.

OPINION

Should you happen to be among a mixed group of offshore angling enthusiasts and want to stir things up, loudly proclaim that you believe no billfish should ever be killed for the sake of a possible world record — or, conversely, say that killing a billfish for the sake of a possible record is justified.

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Either way, you might want to keep your head down because things could get ugly. This topic has long raised hackles on both sides of the issue.

On the one hand are those who feel that any angler has the right to keep (kill) any fish any time, as long as it’s legal, and it’s really no one else’s business. They feel that questioning this right is simply bowing to the political correctness of fish huggers.

At the other extreme are folks — anglers and nonanglers alike — who believe there’s simply no justifiable reason to kill a billfish (and particularly if to be hung from a scale for the…

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