Catch & Release damages the “Delicate Flowers” of the watershed

anxietyI’m thinking the Brits may have been right all along  – and us liberal eco-friendly colonials have been gleefully abusing trout for several generations.

New fish farming research suggests that “dropout fish”, that small percentage of fish that become listless and unresponsive when wadded into pens and fed dry pellets made of horse manure and ground walnut shells, may be “overstimulated” fish – incapable of handling new external stimuli.

“Overstimulated” being the definition of vaccination, excessive handling, predation of really mean Gangsta fish, and having really small gonads (therefore being the laughingstock of gym class). All this unwanted external attention causing a percentage of pen raised fish to withdraw from their sheltered concrete lined lifestyle, suffer chronic depression and essentially will themselves to die.

The researchers suggest that the “drop out” fish came to their condition due to stresses they encountered that were not in their natural environment (overcrowding, aggressiveness from other fish, handling by humans, vaccinations, etc.) Stresses that all of the fish in the fish farm were forced to endure—it was only those that were not able to cope with the highly stressful environment that were overwhelmed and succumbed to depressive-like symptoms. The team further suggests that losses due to “drop out” fish could be reduced by reducing or eliminating the stress inducers that exist as a normal part of aquaculture processes.

Not surprisingly, human psychologists are keen to note the similarities between farmed fish and humans, the difference being our “dropouts” spend the bulk of the day in their phone, ignore parental begging to secure gainful employment, and choose to live with us until they’re forty .. instead.

“Overstimulated” may  be the selfsame reason our progeny are ignoring traditional blood sports and opting for the genteel hobbies consistent with concrete lined lifestyles popularized by our major urban epicenters.

This theory dovetails into fly fishing lore, given how fishing is always worse now than the decade prior, and how the popular “hot spots” on our rivers inevitably turn cool.  An explanation that the gleeful manner by which we repeatedly slam steel into innocent mouths suggests that fish duped many times over may develop feeding anxieties  and lowered self esteem once caught, handled and released.  After numerous encounters with sharp hooks and boorish humans they withdraw from the prime lies, leading to lowered reproduction rates, and eventually extincting the Powerhouse #2 riffle

(that’s a California joke …)

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