Catch and release

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Under catch and release (English. Catch and release below also C & R called) one understands in angler fishing resetting caught fish.


The origin of the C&R lies in carp fishing . It has long been a tradition there to weigh, measure, photograph and release caught fish. In addition to the desire to catch as many large fish as possible, the basis is the widespread view that large carp are of no culinary value, although this is strongly dependent on the water. Carp from some rivers and ponds still taste great even with weights of over 15 kilograms, in some other ponds, on the other hand, even small fish weighing three kilograms are hardly usable.

The fly fishing has a long tradition in Europe, with the removal of the catch was more the rule. Through the media, u. a. the film A River Runs Through It by Robert Redford , fly fishing in the German-speaking countries in the 1990s was very popular. The current fly fishing industry therefore relies heavily on the American "model" and has partially taken over from C&R. In the meantime, however, C & R fans can be found in all branches of angling.


The supporters of C & R justify the method primarily with the maintenance of the fish population. The purpose of releasing the caught fish is to preserve their stock, as many anglers believe that large fish have the best spawning quality.

Surveys among carp anglers have shown that released fish, provided they are treated carefully (e.g. when carp fishing by using unhooking mats ), were sometimes caught again on the same day. Scientific studies on this have not yet been carried out.


C & R is criticized by animal welfare groups and also by many anglers for ethical and moral reasons. Fish suffer from stress and possibly pain as a result of the drill. Since C & R does not strive for a higher value goal than the fun of the angler (e.g. utilization of the fish as high quality food), it is therefore an unnecessary addition of stress or even pain to an animal . The legal situation in Germany also follows this line of argument.

The actual success of the conservation goal is controversial. Depending on the species of fish, the survival rates of caught fish after being released are very different. It is scientifically proven that the survival rate decreases markedly the longer the caught fish stay in the fight and on land (e.g. for measuring and photographing), there are also more robust species such as pike and carp, but also very sensitive species such as pikeperch, Perch or salmonids.


While in countries such as the USA catching and releasing certain fish species is often mandatory, in Germany a release of the fish is only allowed if the fish was caught in the closed season , is still below the allowed size or is captured as bycatch when fishing in another way has been; otherwise the animal will be inflicted senseless pain or suffering, which in Germany is considered cruelty to animals according to Section 17 of the Animal Welfare Act .

In Switzerland, a similar regulation applies as in Germany. It is generally not allowed to fish for fish that have been spared or protected and that are not allowed to be taken. In its explanations of the Animal Welfare Ordinance under Article 23, letter a, Switzerland has drawn up a detailed interpretation that allows catch and release under certain conditions for ecological reasons. There is no clear regulation in Austria.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. See 1st principle of the Higher Regional Court of Celle, judgment of January 12, 1993 - 1 Ss 297/92: The angling of fish that were recently released in ponds in a fattened state specifically for this purpose, justifies a factual and illegal animal cruelty i . See the § TIERSCHG § 17 No. 2b TierschG .
  2. Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office FSVO: Page no longer available , search in web archives: Animal Welfare Legislation: Innovations 2008@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /