A Sword and a Fish
There is a gladiator of the ocean – the swordfish. Have you ever tried landing a big swordfish? After a five- or six-hour fight with a thousand-pound swordfish, which of course had no intention of giving up without a fight, you realize this magnificent fish is a legend living in its own time. Are you going to eat it? Are you going to take a picture of it? Are you going to kill it?
Would you Kill a Record Fish?
How many of you would cut the line because you knew you had a large female breeder on the line? I guess you would cut the line because you would feel bad if you caught and killed it; even though you were allowed to catch it.
How about a RECORD swordfish weighing MORE than a thousand pounds, and it was hanging at the end of your line? Would you kill it then? Even if it was a female breeder? Well, some would, and some wouldn’t. I couldn’t do it. But of course, I cry when watching Lion King, and Mufasa dies. I am not the best to ask.
An old swordfish fisherman once told me, that the only difference between a commercial fisherman and a sport fisherman is that one of them takes pictures of his catch. I have come to realize that he was wrong and that some sport fisher will kill for records, photographs and sponsors – not only pictures.
Fish with no Value
To kill a record fish that has no table value, well, there is something just not right about that in my book. We have caught so many larger than life Hammers on my boat, and when we get them to the gunnels, we hold them for a while to stare at the amazing creatures that they are, and then cut them loose. You feel a hell of a lot better watching it swim away. Then, when we get to the dock, we can still tell everyone we caught a colossal Hammerhead. The psychological benefits are the same but without the kill.
On the other hand, I would definitely plant my pond with any big Swordfish, because there is a lot of meat on them. If you have never tried swordfish, it is a great steak. The collateral benefit is they are a real trophy fish and a proud catch by anyone’s standards.
Guys fishing for the world record, they release most of all fish and only keep the one that counts. Their gear is such that they only target larger fish, practice catch and release, tagging fish, not catch and kill. These guys do less harm to the overall species, I think.
And what about the guy who fishes swordfish for food and money? He keeps everything large and small. How do you compare? Who is right and who is wrong?
I think when a record fish is caught, it brings more people to the great sport of fishing and attention to preserving the species due to the positive media attention – not the negative attention of the killing some out there.
What do you think?
Chef Bobby is a Chef and Cookbook Author. He loves to share his knowledge of cooking and handling of fish with our community.