Live-bait fishing is no doubt one of the worst fishing techniques: it consists in using a live vertebrate animal, most commonly a fish, as bait with a hook embedded in their back or mouth. PAZ asks for the ban of this practice.
For the first time in France, our organisation is revealing footage of this practice (taken in Paris and in the south of France).
WHAT IS LIVE-BAIT FISHING ?
This fishing method consists in piercing the back or mouth of a vertebrate animal (most commonly fish) with a hook in order to attract a carnivorous fish. The fish that is impaled alive can suffer for hours and it will panic with no way to escape as the predator closes in.
In addition to that ordeal, the live bait and the predator are then both brutally extracted from the water as in all types of fishing. This extraction from their environment causes suffocation which terrifies them.
Live-bait fishing allows to catch several species of fish among which are pike, black bass, sheatfish, perch, pike-perch… The fish used as bait are usually very young fish: gudgeon, bleak, chub, tench. Bigger baits are also used to catch sheatfish.
THE SUFFERING OF FISH USED AS BAIT
Fish used as bait can originate from fish farms and be sold or can be caught beforehand by anglers. In any case, their ordeal begins long before the actual fishing session. We have revealed shocking footage from some Decathlon stores: aquariums are dirty, overpopulated, the dead float among the living. Some fish are even kept in plastic bags before being sold. After being caught, or bought in a store, they are kept alive in buckets in a small amount of water for several hours or even several days. These conditions cause pain and stress to the fish (see footage).
Fish are sentient beings. The state of scientific knowledge establishes that fish have the ability to suffer, to feel a wide variety of emotions and that they possess complex social lives.
However, in France, there exists no regulations aimed at lowering the suffering experienced by fish (be it in recreational or commercial fishing).
Learn more about the ability of fish to feel pain.
Take action by sending a message to Decathlon => click here.
The fish that are used as live baits can come from a different water body than the one where the fishing is taking place (if they originate from fish farms or if they were caught elsewhere). This can cause health issues (spreading of viruses, parasites, bacteria…). The poor conditions in which they are kept before being used increase that risk: it is known that stress affects the immune system of fish and that overpopulation helps the spread of diseases.
Live-bait fishing can also be connected to the spread of invasive species.
Learn more about environmental issues related to live-bait fishing.
FIGHT COMMON PRECONCEPTIONS SURROUNDING LIVE-BAIT FISHING
Our organisation has mandated an IFOP study on live-bait fishing that allowed us to break down common preconceptions surrounding this practice. Live-bait fishing is neither “ageing”, nor “rural”, and even less “marginal”. Close to one angler in two uses it (regardless of frequency). Those anglers belong to all generations and come from all over France. It is even practised slightly more around Paris.
Those numbers go against the common statements from fishing federations that tend to minimise the extent to which this method is used, leading one to think it is disappearing on its own.
We can therefore assure that live-bait fishing is not a marginal practice on the verge of dying out. We must ban it if we really want to take into account the interests of fish and spare them from the worst of the suffering.
To read the IFOP study, click here.
WE ASK FOR THE BAN OF LIVE-BAIT FISHING
This archaic and cruel practice no longer has its place in our society.
For that matter, Germany, Austria (in the major part of the Länder), Scotland, Ireland (in fresh water) and Switzerland have already banned it.
We ask for it to be banned in France, that is to say a ban on the use of live vertebrate animals as bait.
Take up action by signing our petition => click here.
Puteaux takes a stand against live-bait fishing (september 2022)
On the 12th of september 2022, the town council of Puteaux passed a resolution asking for a national ban on live-bait fishing. The resolution was put forward by Brice Loe Mie, member of the opposition, and supported by the mayor of Puteaux Mrs Joëlle Ceccaldi-Raynaud.
Andrée Taurinya (LFI – NUPES), MP for the Loire, questions the government (august 2022)
The MP for the Loire reminded the government in a written question that several local authorities have officially taken a stance against live-bait fishing, among them was Saint-Etienne in june 2022. She asked for the government to give its own position relating to this practice.
Opinion column in Le Monde : « Pêche de loisir : « Une réglementation permettant de réduire la souffrance des poissons est indispensable » » ( Recreational fishing : « Regulation to reduce the suffering of fish is essential » ) (july 2022)
Alongside Matthieu Ricard and six other animal welfare organisations, PAZ has published an opinion column in Le Monde about fish stocking for fishing and the need for regulation on recreational fishing aimed at reducing the suffering experienced by fish. We used that column to put forward the ban of live-bait fishing.
Julien Bayou (EELV – NUPES), MP for Paris, approaches the government on the matter of live-bait fishing (july 2022)
The MP for Paris, Julien Bayou (EELV – NUPES), has addressed a written question to the government. He reminded the government that fish are sentient beings and asks the Minister of Ecological Transition if he will consider banning this cruel practice.
The ecological group supports the ban of live-bait fishing in the regional council of Île-de-France (july 2022)
On the 7th of july 2022, the ecological group in the regional council of Île-de-France put forward an amendment asking for the end of electrofishing and the ban of live-bait fishing in their region. During her speech, the elected representative Annie Lahmer explained that fish are sentient beings and that we must take into account their suffering by putting an end to those techniques. Sadly, the amendment was not passed.
Saint-Étienne passes a resolution against live-bait fishing (june 2022)
Following PAZ’s campaign against live-bait fishing, the town council of Saint-Etienne passed a resolution on the 27th of june 2022 in favor of a national regulation aimed at banning this practice. To defend this proposition, the town councillor appointed to animal welfare Mrs Véronique Falzone, held that live-bait fishing was cruel against fish who are sentient beings.
Candidates have taken position for the ban of live-bait fishing in the 2022 presidential and legislative elections (2022)
For the 2022 presidential and legislative elections, PAZ called upon the candidates to take a position in favour of banning live-bait fishing. Jean-Luc Mélanchon and Yannick Jadot committed to that in their presidential campaigns. During the legislative elections, over 230 candidates signed PAZ’s charter among whom Clémente Guetté that stepped up for the LFI party. Today, it results in 28 MPs having individually expressed their will to ban live-bait fishing and 75 MPs that are committed to do so through their party’s program.
Pierre-Yves Bournazel (Agir ensemble) and other MPs put forward a bill in the National Assembly (2022)
Following the Paris town council, MP Pierre-Yves Bournazel defended once more the ban on live-bait fishing by putting forward a bill in the national Assembly ! Other MPs have also signed the proposition: Dimitri Houbron (Agir Ensemble), Patricia Lemoine (Agir Ensemble), Loïc Dombreval (LREM) and Claire O’Petit (LREM)
Florence Granjus (LREM), MP for the Yvelines, engages the government on the issue of live-bait fishing (2022)
In december 2022, Carrières-sous-Poissy, in the Yvelines, passed a town council resolution asking for a national ban on live-bait fishing. Following our request, Florence Granjus (LREM), MP for the Yves, wrote a written question on the matter that was published in the Journal Officiel.
Albane Gaillot (N/A), MP for Val-de-Marne, questions the government on the issue of live-bait fishing (2022)
After Joinville-le-Point in Val-de-Marine took up position, MP Albane Gaillot (N/A) published a written question to the government in the Journal Officiel. She asked for clarifications regarding the list of animals that can be used as bait and strongly opposed live-bait fishing, qualifying the practice as “primitive”.
Participation in the consulting period for the Conference on the Future of Europe (2022)
PAZ submited the idea of banning live-bait fishing to the EU on the occasion of the Conference on the Future of Europe. It became the second most voted idea in the “Restore biodiversity and reduce pollution” topic.
Opinion column in Le Monde : « Manipuler la notion de ruralité pour défendre des pratiques cruelles envers les animaux est malhonnête et scandaleux » ( « Manipulating the idea of rurality to defend practices that are cruel to animals is dishonest and disgraceful » ) (2022)
In january 2022, PAZ co-founder Amandine Sanvisens wrote an opinion column in Le Monde condemning the political usage of the idea of rurality to defend practices that are cruel to animals such as live-bait fishing. Rurality is defined according to a density of population, it is not linked to values that imply animal suffering.
Aurore Bergé (LREM), MP for the Yvelines, approaches the government on the issue of live-bait fishing (2022)
Following the resolution taken by Carrières-sous-Poissy in favour of banning live-bait fishing, and following our requests, MP for the Yvelines Aurore Bergé (LREM) wrote a written question to the government that was published in the Journal Officiel. She explained in particular the suffering that this practice causes to fish.
Carrières-sous-Poissy takes position against live-bait fishing and barbed hooks (2021)
During the 14th of december 2021 town council, elected representatives of Carrières-sous-Poissy passed a resolution asking for a national ban on live-bait fishing and on barbed hooks. (Le Parisien)
Joinville-le-Pont asserts its position against live-bait fishing (2021)
On the 14th of december 2021, the town council of Joinville-le-Point took position against the most cruel practices against animals, such as live-bait fishing. (Actu)
Participation in the « Radicales et fluides » conference of Réjane Senac, at Sciences Po (2021)
Amandine Sanvisens was invited to take part in the “Radicales et fluides” conference at Sciences Po. She used the occasion, once more, to insist on the suffering of fish and on the cruelty brought upon them by live-bait fishing.
Defending the ban of live-bait fishing in the elections
During the 2021 regional elections, PAZ asked the candidates to commit to taking a resolution against live-bait fishing.
For the 2022 presidential election, PAZ is calling all candidates to take a position for the ban of this practice.
Opinion column in Reporterre : « Il faut interdire la pêche au vif, cruelle et d’un autre âge » ( « Live-bait fishing is cruel and archaic, it must be banned. » ) (2021)
In june 2021, PAZ published an opinion column in Reporterre to ask for the ban of live-bait fishing. It was signed by a great number of people including scientists, veterinarians, legal experts and animal welfare organisations leaders.
Online petition (2021)
PAZ is starting an online petition to ask the Minister of Ecological Transition and Solidarity and the Minister of Agriculture and Food to ban live-bait fishing.
The LFI group puts forward an amendment aimed at banning live-bait fishing (2021)
In may 2021, following our requests, Eric Coquerel (LFI) and the LFI group put forward an amendment aimed at banning live-bait fishing.
IFOP study on live-bait fishing in France (2021)
PAZ mandated an IFOP study in may 2021 about the practice of live-bait fishing in France. This study allows us to break down some common preconceptions:
- Live-bait fishing is not a rural practice: it is used everywhere.
- It is a widespread technique: regardless of frequency, 1 in 2 anglers use it.
- It is not ageing: it is used by anglers from all generations (no important age difference was found)
Demonstration against Decathlon stores that sell fish to be used a bait (2021)
We have revealed shocking footage of fish being sold in Decathlon stores to be used as bait: piled up with dead bodies in dirty aquariums, sometimes imprisoned in plastic bags… Fish suffer from these poor conditions and are stressed. PAZ asks Decathlon to stop selling fish meant to be used as bait: we marched in Paris, Toulon and Brive.
Opinion column Le Journal Toulousain : « L’association Paz demande l’interdiction de la pêche au vif, une pratique particulièrement cruelle » ( « The organisation PAZ asks for the ban of live-bait fishing, a cruel practice » ) (2021)
PAZ published an opinion column in the Journal Toulousain calling for a ban on live-bait fishing because of its cruelty.
Awareness raising actions all over France
PAZ is swinging into action all over France to raise awareness of this cruel practice. Actions have taken place in Paris, Brive, Montpellier, Toulouse, Bensançon…
Opinion column in Le Monde : « La pratique de la pêche au vif n’est plus conforme avec le droit » ( « Live-bait fishing is no longer lawful » ) (2021)
In april 2021, alongside researchers and other animal welfare organisation members, PAZ published an opinion column in le Monde asking that the use of live fish as bait be banned in recreational fishing.
Concern among anglers (2021)
MP Fabien Lainé (MoDem), who has ties to the recreational fishing lobby, submits an oral question to the Secretary of State Bérangère Abba to inform her of his concerns regarding our campaign aimed at banning live-bait fishing.
Live-bait fishing in the town council of Massy (2021)
Following our requests, « Nous sommes Massy » elected representative Jonathan Laban-Bounayre defended the ban of live-bait fishing during the town council of Massy. Sadly, the mayor refused to support it with a resolution.
Bordeaux wants to ban live-bait fishing from its lake (2021)
In february 2021, Bordeaux city hall shared its will to ban live-bait fishing from its lake in Sud Ouest. Sadly, it did not implement the ban due to pressure from anglers.
Debates on the issue of live-bait fishing in Montpellier (2021)
In february 2021, Eddine Ariztegui (PA), elected representative appointed to animal welfare, answered our campaign and demanded a ban on live-bait fishing. This gave way to lively debates. (France 3)
Victoria Austraet, MP for Brussels, approaches the Brussels government on the matter of live-bait fishing (2021)
Following our campaign, MP for Brussels Victoria Austraet questioned the Brussels government on the matter of fishing in its city and on the suffering that it causes to fish. The European elected representative brought forward the question of live-bait fishing in particular, pointing out that the cities of Grenoble and Paris have already taken a position against this practice.
Paris town council takes a position in favour of banning live-bait fishing and barbed fishing hooks (2021)
Paris town council passed a resolution asking for the ban of live-bait fishing and barbed fishing hooks.
Paris executives also passed a ban on the use of barbed hooks in Paris, which was among the campaign promises of Anne Hidalgo (PS).
We would like to thank all the representatives that spoke up to put forward the fact that fish are sentient, feel emotions and have memory: Douchka Markovic (EELV), Maud Lelièvre (MoDem), Alexis Govciyan (LREM), Pierre-Yves Bournazel (Agir) et Christophe Najdovski (EELV). (BFM Paris, Le Parisien, 30 millions d’amis)
Group video against live-bait fishing (2021)
PAZ joins forces with Greg Guillotin, L214, One Voice, LPO, Sea Shepherd, Pierre Rigaux and Amadeus VG Humanimal to condemn the cruelty of fishing and ask for it to be banned in a group video.
The city of Grenoble passes a resolution (2021)
On the 29th of january 2021, the city of Grenoble passed a resolution in favour of national regulation banning live-bait fishing. It is the first authority in France to officially take a position against live-bait fishing. PAZ would like to warmly thank the representatives of Grenoble who stepped up, especially Sandra Krief (PA), elected representative appointed to animal welfare, who defended this resolution in the town council. (Le Berry Républicain, Le Dauphiné Libéré, Place Gre’Net)
Banning live-bait fishing in Melun (2021)
In january 2021, Giovanni Recchia (SE), elected representative appointed to animal welfare in Melun, joined forces with PAZ to condemn the cruelty of live-bait fishing and called for a ban in magazine Actu.
Kreezy R condemns live-bait fishing and calls upon Decathlon to stop selling fish (2020)
In a video, performer Kreezy R partnered with PAZ to condemn live-bait fishing and to ask Decathlon to stop selling fish: we would like to thank her warmly ! A petition has also been created.
A European resolution demands a ban on live-bait use in commercial fishing (2020)
Following our requests, Typhanie Degois (LREM), MP for Savoie, added the ban of live-bait fishing for commercial purposes to her information report on the protection of animal welfare in the EU.
Resolution n°493, that originated from this report, requests “a ban on the use of sentient animals as living bait and recommendations aimed at reducing the suffering experienced by animals during fishing.”
Claire O’Petit (LREM), MP for l’Eure, questions the Minister of Agriculture and Food (2019)
In april 2019, Claire O’Petit (LREM), MP for l’Eure, questioned the Minister of Agriculture and Food (that is appointed to animal welfare) on the issue of live-bait fishing. She points out that this practice is considered cruel – even by some anglers – and that fish are sentient beings.
The Ministry of Agriculture answered that it understands the importance of animal welfare and that it is in favour of developing new alternative solutions, but that its scope is limited to domestic animals.
Investigation on recreationnal fishing and fish suffering (2019)
In 2019, PAZ revealed footage of recreational fishing, commented by Greg Guillotin, in which we can see fish being slaughtered brutally or that are left to suffocate on the ground. We also displayed footage of fish piled up in small amounts of water, having great difficulty to breathe, as well as a live fish impaled on a hook and cast in the water for live-bait fishing.
Greg Guillotion calls for fish and their suffering to be taken into account, and therefore to ban live-bait fishing. We would like to thank him very much !
Interviews with the Ministry of Ecology on the issue of live-bait fishing
Since may 2019, PAZ has regularly been in contact with the Ministry of Ecology to improve the consideration given to the suffering of fish during recreational fishing, especially during live-bait fishing. It is during one of these interviews that our organisation gave its enquiry to the Ministry.
« Parlons des poissons » ( » Let’s talk about fish » ) conference (2019)
In march 2019, PAZ organised a conference centred on fish in the presence of photographer Ludovic Sueur, artist Badger Burrown and L214. The campaign against live-bait fishing was brought up.
Corinne Vignon (LREM), MP for Haute-Garonne, engages the Ministry of Ecological Transition and Solidarity (2019)
In march 2019, taking into account the ability of fish to feel pain and therefore the cruelty of live-bait fishing, Corinne Vignon (LREM), MP for Haute-Garonne, engaged the Ministry of Ecological Transition and Solidarity. She asks the government if it will consider ending this “violent and unjustified” practice, in the same way as other European countries have already done.
Participation in the « Nous avec les animaux ? » colloquium (2019)
We took part in the « Nous avec les animaux ? » colloquium that was organized by Senator Esther Benbassa (EELV). Co-founder of PAZ Amande Sanvisens condemned the cruelty of live-bait fishing in particular.
Article in Libération regarding our campaign (2019)
Libération published an article regarding our campaign: a good occasion to bring this cruel practice to light and to ask for it to be banned.
A few scientific studies
Brown, C. Fish intelligence, sentience and ethics. Anim Cogn 18, 1–17 (2015) :
Sneddon, L. Evolution of nociception and pain: evidence from fish models, The Royal Society Publishing (2019)
Sneddon, L. Pain in aquatic animals,Journal of Experimental Biology (2015)
INRA worked on animal consciousness. In its « résumé de l’expertise scientifique collective » (“summary of collective scientific knowledge”) (may 2017), fish are considered in these words (translated from French):
“Bird and fish brains have similar structures to those of mammals, in all likelihood this allows them to feel conscious pain” (page 7)
“Many animal species, including fish, have the same cognitive process abilities as those known to trigger emotions in humans, such as anticipating an event, elaborating expectations and the ability to act on the triggering event, even to control it.” (page 50)
“Birds, fish and reptiles would have at least a certain degree of consciousness and ability to feel pain.” (page 93)