(Richard Ingebrigtsen 2010)

In earlier times, our ancestors and foremothers were completely dependent on nature to survive and the prey our ancestors acquired was the ticket to further survival. The hunter inevitably developed a very close bond with nature and naturally a deep respect for it and the creatures that lived there. Such hunting and gathering cultures hardly exist today, but remnants of this way of life live on with us as recreational hunting and gathering.

After the industrial revolution, we have become independent of the wilderness and everything that lives there, and we neither fear nor depend on it for survival. The deep respect for nature and for prey does not necessarily come as naturally to us as it did to our ancestors.

Capture ethics, what is it?
We all have a sense of what is right and wrong and of how we
generally should behave. Nevertheless, problems often arise when we feel
that an action we take is absolutely right, while others look at the action or
our actions as something wrong, something unethical. Where do we actually stand?
underwater hunters in this "moral landscape"? And are there things we should be
clearer for our own part and towards others who only get to know our activity
through reports in the media?

The core of the problem is that many believe that fish cannot feel pain
or have particularly good intelligence and thus do not have much intrinsic value, while many
others believe the exact opposite. We will probably never have a satisfactory answer to this
few. Animals probably feel pain quite far down the systematics, since it is
an evolutionarily beneficial trait that gets the animal away from dangers. We know
however, not how this pain is felt or perceived by the animal. What we know,
and as free divers and underwater hunters know well, is that many fish are
the surprises wake up and learn quickly. So what are we to believe?

A philosopher, Thomas Nagel, who has worked on the problem of consciousness in animals summed it up like this:

If we have good imagination, we can imagine what it would be like for us to be a bat, but we can never know what it is like for a bat to be a bat. This is also the case with fish. We have no idea what it is like for the fish to be a fish, but we have to relate to it anyway, because it is something to be a fish. Something that is for the fish to be fish.

This recognition, if you can call it that, is actually embedded in many countries' animal protection laws, including in Norway.

In my eyes, we as underwater hunters therefore have a clear ethical responsibility when we take a weapon into the depths with the intention of killing living beings in order to eat them . A starting point for trapping ethics should be that animals must be treated with respect and not suffer unnecessarily. Such a statement is in line with the wording of the relatively new "animal welfare act", which was introduced in 2009. The purpose of this act is to promote good animal welfare and respect for animals. According to the law, fish, crayfish and squid, among other things, have intrinsic value regardless of their utility value for humans.

It is further stated that "hunting, trapping and fishing must be carried out in a way that is sound in terms of animal welfare". In practice, this means that we must do what we can to avoid shooting damage, as well as euthanize the catch immediately after it has been caught. In addition, we should not capture more than necessary.

But what is meant by respect for animals such as fish, centipedes and squid? It
The popular philosopher Arne Næss, as an ecosophist, believed that all life has intrinsic value and
equal right to live and flourish, while at the same time he believed that we should realize ours
potential as much as possible. Be positive, not too serious and to do things that we like, preferably in nature and through this feel that we are part of a whole, which is a good intuitive reading. Most of us think little of this on a daily basis, but surely feel it a little when we sit on a rock with our harpoon, look out over the sea and feel the calm.

So if we feel a bit at one with nature, it is natural to feel that beings there
has intrinsic value and deserves respect. Even without thinking about it, they feel
most of it like that. My grandfather, who was a fisherman, always said that you should not take more fish than you needed and that the small fish should be released carefully, preferably while saying "come back when you grow up". Even without having experienced such a fishing culture, many people feel that it is wrong to take small fish, or speak badly of the fish. Many react e.g. that a fantastic fish like halibut, a fish that our ancestors regarded as a sacred fish, is referred to as "monster", "beast" or "monster". Such labels cannot exactly be called respecting the animal, although it was hardly intended negatively on the part of the journalists, or easily impressed readers. The fish Petter and I caught was hatched at about the same time as us and has been swimming around out in the sea all the time we have lived. For me it is extra special, because it probably grew up in the same area as me! Maybe it swam between my toes when I waded around the shore when I was a little boy? For me, respect for fish is also about respecting the resource it is and treating it nicely. We should spend time learning how to best treat a fish as raw material, a malted fillet is e.g. not a good use of a great fish.

So what is underwater hunting ethics? I don't know, but as long as we feel we do
right and can stand for our actions below the surface, most people are probably on the right track.
For my own part, underwater hunting ethics will be to act as I have been taught
up to: I have to use the time it takes to treat what I catch nicely, I have to make good food from all the fish, treat it with respect and kill it quickly during the catch, as well as let the small fish grow up. And as long as I follow the simple rules for myself, I can't see that anyone would have any reasonable objection to my underwater hunting.

Catching and Ethics

Is it more ethical to buy fish at Rema, rather than harvesting it yourself from the sea?

A freediver who caught a large sea eel with a sling near Stavanger (2009) was reported to the police by NOAH, for violating the Animal Protection Act. The newspapers published the news, and thus the circus was underway.

The newspapers' debate field is flooded with emotionally charged articles about fish kills.

It is clear that some people find it grotesque to take the life of a large fish, knowingly
associations with warm-blooded animals and hunting resistance. A lyre of 1 kilo would hardly attract much attention, but what is the difference between this and a sea eel of 25 kg, or a halibut of 300 kg? Is there a line somewhere, where the fish is mistaken for a warm-blooded animal?

So then it is probably in order to reflect a little on man's place in nature, and how we treat our fellow creatures?

Fish-eating opponents of underwater hunting can, for example, ask themselves the following questions:

1. Is it better to hook a random fish, tire it out and drag it ashore?

2. Is it better to lay out nets, where the fish get entangled and slowly die off
lack of oxygen or being eaten by benthic animals while alive?

3. Is it better to tow a trawl over the seabed where the benthic fauna is destroyed, and the fish are squeezed to death?

4. Is it better to lock up several hundred tons of salmon in cages, which swim like herring in a barrel from the time they are smolted to mature individuals, fish that are created to swim across large stretches of ocean and then return to their childhood river to spawn? Fish that in captivity contract all the world's diseases since nature wants to thin out an unnaturally high density?

As an underwater hunter, you have the opportunity to selectively pick out the fish you want to take home to eat, or give to friends.

Usually the fish is quickly killed, bled and gutted. In comparison, the killing of farmed fish takes place as follows: The gill arches are cut, and the fish swims in a bleeding vessel until it runs out of blood.

Most people eat fish and meat, and our fishing culture is as old as humanity. Debate about hunting ethics is of course connected to hunting on land. I tend to say that if you are anti-hunting but not a vegetarian, you are in a moral dilemma.

As a meat eater, you can ask yourself the following questions:

1. Are you killing a sheep if you eat mutton sausage?

2. Is it okay to breed pigs and chickens that never see the blue sky?

3. Is it better to change the genetic material of animals, so that they are inflicted with suffering/pain in order to achieve greater milk production, large eggs, meat quality that suits us best, etc.?

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