Position Statement on Sport Fishing - BC SPCA
Search by
postal code:
Search our site:

Animal Helpline:


For all other calls and inquiries
see our contact details.

Find a BC SPCA location in your area:

Position Statement on Sport Fishing

The BC SPCA believes recreational fishing should only be carried out by the employment of the best possible angling techniques and handling procedures that will minimize stress, together with the use of gear that will cause the least amount of injury and pain.

Approved by the Board of Directors – January 1999


Scientific data confirms that fish do have a stress response and suffer pain, triggered under circumstances such as angling. The instant and pronounced behaviour response of a fish on a line suggests such responses have very noticeable consequences to the physiology of the fish. Ethically, it is important for the Society to advocate that fish, as a sentient creature should not be subjected to unnecessary suffering due to inappropriate angling practices.

The BC SPCA recommends that:

  • Statutory fishing regulations reflect the humane ethic and provide accompanying educational material;
  • The use of barbless hooks be mandatory;
  • Deeply hooked fish, bleeding fish and fish hooked through any part of the body other than the mouth be humanely killed and not released;
  • Treble hooks, which are difficult to remove, should not be used in Catch and Release fishing;
  • Live bait should not be used in sport fishing;
  • Hooked fish should be removed immediately they are caught;
  • Nets (not gaff hooks) be used to land the catch;
  • Snagging,  jigging,  spearing,  and  bow  and  arrow  fishing  and  set  lines  be prohibited in tidal and fresh waters.

Background Updated – January 1999