How to hu­manely prepare your catch

Auckland City Harbour News - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - DELWYN DICKEY

With sum­mer in full swing and the prom­ise of a free feed out on the wa­ter or for­ag­ing on the shore, it’s a good time to give some thought to the hu­mane treat­ment of the ma­rine life we’re catch­ing.

Be­cause they look so alien its easy to imag­ine that ma­rine an­i­mals don’t feel pain the same way we do.

From a young age many ju­nior an­glers are re­as­sured fish­ing doesn’t re­ally hurt the fish.

‘‘The be­lief that ma­rine life, with the ex­cep­tion of ma­rine mam­mals like whales, dol­phins and seals, don’t feel pain and so can’t suf­fer is wrong,’’ former di­rec­tor of Univer­sity of Auck­land’s Leigh Ma­rine Lab­o­ra­tory, ma­rine sci­en­tist and keen fish­er­man Dr John Mont­gomery says.

‘‘Though they don’t ap­pear to feel the same level of pain as us, fish do still feel pain when hooked,’’

So its im­por­tant to get the fish out of the wa­ter and dis­patch them as quickly as pos­si­ble, Mont­gomery says. Fish shouldn’t be left flap­ping about in the bot­tom of the boat which is stress­ful for them, he says. It also af­fects the qual­ity of their flesh as they won’t stay fresh as long.

It ba­si­cally comes down to whether the an­i­mal has a brain, Cawthron In­sti­tute aqua­cul­ture ex­pert Dr Nor­man Ragg says.

Throw­ing oys­ters straight down the hatch, paua on the ‘‘bar­bie’’, or a boil up of cock­les re­main a guilt free meal, as shell­fish don’t have a brain, Ragg says.

Brain or knife spik­ing (iki jime) or plung­ing an­i­mals into salt wa­ter ice slurry for later dis- patch, so long as they’re not over­crowded, are com­monly used for eth­i­cal han­dling and would be suit­able for oc­to­pus, he says. The slurry acts like an anaes­thetic.

Fin fish are cov­ered by leg­is­la­tion with line fish­ing or net­ting deemed ac­cept­able, but they should be iki’ed or put into an ice slurry quickly.

Crabs and cray­fish also feel pain although Mont­gomery be­lieves it is less than fish. They are also cov­ered by the Wel­fare Code.

Throw­ing them into a pot of boil­ing wa­ter is no longer ac­cept­able. They must be dead or un­con- scious.

Again iki or ice slur­ry­ing is rec­om­mended, or putting them in the freezer for 20 min­utes un­til un­re­spon­sive.

Eels should be treated in the same way as fish, says Mont­gomery. They must also be un­con­scious or dead be­fore de-slim­ing.

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