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What Anglers Need to Know About Fish Drowning


Do you want the answer to the age-old query: can fish drown?

It’s been centuries of debate over this simple yet complex question.

So let us move away from guesswork. Is it possible for fish to ‘drown’? To get some answers we must dive more into the vast depths of our oceans.

Exploring how – and if – a fish can indeed drown.

Can Fish Drown? A Deep Dive into Aquatic Breathing Biology

Under How Fish Breathe

If you were to ask a fish what it feels like when they can’t breathe.

Their response may well be something like: “It’s tricky trying not to lose your cool in such an awkward situation.”

That old saying about how ‘being a fish isn’t easy’ has taken on a new significance! Fish, like other aquatic creatures, need oxygen for their cells to function. To get this vital gas from water. They have adapted some unique respiratory organs called gills.

It’s All In The Gills

Gills enable fish to extract and absorb oxygen molecules from the surrounding water.

Imagine if that meant little Fishes had to take breaths every now and again out there?

Now that would make them struggle even more than before!

Unlike us humans who get air into our lungs (which absorb oxygen), fish rely on their gills for breathing. So, unlike us. They can’t take big lungfuls of water to breathe. As this won’t give them the essential amount of oxygen needed to stay alive.

Gills are super complex structures. That uses osmosis and diffusion to filter out the necessary levels of oxygen from the water. This enables fish to keep healthy even in low-oxygen depths.

At the same time as getting all that yummy oxygen.

These clever organs also help flush out carbon dioxide, and ammonia. As well as other nasty toxins – helping make sure not only do they survive but so does everyone else around them!

Exploring the Concept: Can Fish Drown

Have you ever come across the phrase ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’?

Well, it’s a similar story to teaching a fish not to drown!

So here’s the question. Is it actually possible for our finned friends to end up completely waterlogged?

The answer is ‘yes’. But only under specific scenarios. Right, so we all know from watching Finding Nemo. That is when the level of oxygen in water dips too low. Or even runs out, certain types of fish can kick the bucket due to a lack of air.

It’s much the same story for many freshwater fish too. They need access to fresh air above the surface. Otherwise if stuck underwater for too long then yes, ‘they will drown’.

Under Pressure

But wait.

There’s also another factor at play here: external pressure!

We humans can feel pretty uncomfortable when put in high-pressure situations.

I’m talking deep-sea diving without breathing gear. The same goes for our aquatic friends. If a fish can’t break through the surface tension (or doesn’t have enough energy to gill flapping). It could lead to suffocation, which would be fatal.

But this isn’t something we see happen too often.

At least not in wild habitats. Where fish bunch together into shoals. This gives them protection from predators and potential asphyxiation all rolled into one!

That said though. You’ll sometimes come across cases of domestic fish dying. Due to prolonged exposure underwater.

Think your pet koi carp kept tucked away in home aquariums.

So if you love those little fishes make sure you keep an eye on them

No need for any more watery losses here folks!

Fishing: Impact on Fish Survival

Fishing is one of the most popular leisure activities in the world.

Though it’s enjoyed. few people pause to consider its influence on fish life expectancy.

Any experienced fishermen will tell you. When they’ve got a hook through their gills. Our finny friends ain’t exactly at their best. Hardly rocket science that this isn’t doing them any favours!

I’m no marine biologist but even I know better than to mess with Mother Nature.

It’s not common knowledge, but fish can drown.

Despite what some people may think. Unfortunately, they’re all too vulnerable. Whether it’s hooks tangling them up. Or pressure from being out of the water. Then chucked back in before their poor gills had a chance to adapt!

That’s why catch-and-release regulations are becoming more popular across fishing circles.

When it comes down to ‘Can fish drown?’.

Yes, albeit differently than we humans do.

The oxygen that flows through their gills is essential for survival.

So if this supply gets cut off either due to something blocking the flow. Or because they’re out of their natural underwater environment. Then there ain’t much hope left for little Nemo…

Going fishing does come with its risks as far as our aquatic friends go.

This is why both newbies hopping on a boat and seasoned fishermen should always stick by angling etiquette and respect any rules imposed around releasing catches back into lakes/rivers etc safely (or just don’t throw them at all!).

Conclusion: Can Fish Drown

To summarise – the myth is true.

Fish can indeed very much drown.

Not quite like we do!

Well, it all comes down to this. Fishes can actually drown if left underwater for too long. Popping the illusion that they are immortal in water is not cool at all!

So you must be extra careful when deciding on an environment suitable for their catch.

Otherwise, your actions would result in the death of poor creatures. It’s a cycle we must break and strive to make fishin’ more sustainable activity. With less damage done by humans who don’t understand aquatic ecology.

If you enjoyed the information article. Why not read Dangerous Fish: 9 Scary Fish From Across The World