Yes it absolutely does! Without ethics on the streambank among sports fishers it would be a chaotic mess!
Can you believe someone would actually be naive enough to seriously ask that question? It is an exact quote from a popular northwest fishing website!
This topic always seems to be a controversial one and I cannot figure out why that is.You can go to any number of other northwest fishing forums and find arguments about this very thing.
So what exactly is the definition of ethics?
According to Webster ethics is " a set of moral principles, a theory or system of moral values"
So how does that translate into fishing in general? With the endangered status of many species of salmonids here on the Pacific coast it can encompass many things. Not using bait in certain situations, especially in a zero retention fishery or not fishing over fish that are on their spawning redds or not wading across an area of river where there are active spawning redds. These are all things that can be encountered every day on the rivers of the Pacific Northwest and most sports anglers are ethical enough to realize that and act accordingly. They are also issues in that anyone with a modicum of common sense will understand.
So what about those that thumb their nose at fishing ethics? They'll use methods of fishing that, while not illegal, can and do cause harm to fish. They have little regard for what is best for the resource and generally thumb their nose at doing the right thing.
Is it healthy for an angler to hold his fish out of the water for a "Kodak moment" ?
No absolutely not but their ego won't allow them to think beyond themselves.
Is it healthy or ethical to fish in a catch and release fishery when the water is too warm? These are conditions that occur every summer but even on the warmest days you'll see people fishing.The combinaion of warm water and the build up of lactic acid in a fishes system due to stress can spell death in almost every instance.
How about selectively taking female salmon only just for the eggs? It's done on a regular basis and it is legal.The carcass of the egg-stripped female salmon is then discarded because the flesh is usually unfit for human consumption.
So how is the general fishing public educated? By example that's how! There are those that are in the public eye whose responsibility it is to set this example of ethical fishing behavior. Some do it but unfortunately some very public and influential fishing "celebrities" do not!
I think by even asking "Does everything have to be a lesson in ethics??? " is a sign of ignorance,selfishness or both. You ought to know better! If you are reading this and thinking "Hey I think he might be talking about me" then I probably am!