Swiss Law to Ban Catch & Release Fishing

In what appears to be one of the most blatant examples on record of animal rights philosophy run amuck, legislation due to become law in Switzerland next year would ban catch-and-release fishing, requiring anglers to kill every fish they land.

The European Fishing Tackle Trade Association (EFTTA) sent out a press release on Wednesday alerting its membership and the media to animal welfare legislation approved by the _Bundesrat_--the Swiss Federal Parliament–that includes the provision: “it is not permitted to go fishing with the ‘intention’ to release the fish.”


While the legislation does not use the term “catch and release,” it states that fish caught by anglers should be killed immediately following capture, “with a sharp blow to the head from a blunt instrument.” Under the new regulations, live bait and barbed hooks are also prohibited.

The measure, which is scheduled to become effective in 2009, complements a broad platform of animal welfare issues originally passed by the Swiss Parliament in 2005.

The EFTTA reports that its chief lobbyist, Jan Kappel, has been in contact with leaders of the Swiss Angling Federation, to see if the measure can be derailed in coming months.

“Demanding that people kill the fish they catch gives no thought to the conservation benefits from releasing them,” said Kappel.

The European trade group estimates that the legislation could affect more than a quarter million anglers in Switzerland, who generate around 30 million Euros in annual tackle sales.

“Making the killing of fish obligatory will simply reduce fish population and, at the same time, run the risk of having a negative impact on sport fishing,” said acting EFTTA president, Pierangelo Zanetta.