The ‘hook’ — a sharp metal point — is designed to break through the fish’s mouth and get snagged on top of their head. So, yes, fish hooks are designed to inflict severe pain. The biological and philosophical debates over whether fish can actually feel pain are too complex to discuss here, though, for the purposes of simplicity, we can assume that the fish does not like having a metal point jabbed through their head.
Yes fish hooks will hurt the animal. Many places are making it only legal to fish with barbless hooks which can be removed easier with less damage to the fish (for catch and release fishing) than a traditional hook. Many people still debate over whether or not barbless hooks really decrease the mortality rate fro fish who have been caught and released. What damage is caused to the fish is also largely dependent on where the hook lands as well. A hook through the flesh of the cheek is going to be less dangerous for the fish than a hook through the gill or an artery, but this is out of the control of the fisherman.
I think it depends on what you mean by “hurt”. When doing catch and release I have seen fish get pretty ripped up having the fish removed. I once saw a fish get part of it’s inside ripped up in catch and release. I don’t practice catch and release anymore, if I fish it is to eat.
In this context it is my belief that they are “hurt” as in damaged.
If you mean hurt as in pain… depends on who you listen to. I remember doctors arguing that babies don’t feel pain so they did circumcision with no anesthetic. In my opinion that is barbaric, and has been pretty widely accepted as false, babies DO feel pain.
So, do fish feel pain?
“From the bass desperately trying to escape the pain of the hook as he is reeled in, to the pollock tumbling endlessly in a trawler’s net, to the tuna struggling for hours with a hook in her throat attached to miles of line with thousand of hooks, billions of fish suffer at our hands every year.”
The following link is interesting but it argues that the neo-cortex is required for pain sensation. Only mammals have this. So the argument would follow that no birds or fish feel pain. It just defies my common sense that this is true.
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