How to kill fish ?

How to kill fish

How to kill fish ?

What is the most humane way to kill a fish intended for eating?

All fish that are caught for eating must be handled carefully to reduce stress and humanely killed as soon as possible after capture. Humane killing requires that the fish is stunned (rendered instantaneously insensible) before being bled out.

Fish should remain in water until immediately prior to stunning. There are two methods that can be used to stun fish caught by hand: percussive stunning and spiking (also known as pithing or iki-jime).

Percussive stunning involves a forceful and accurate blow to the head with a blunt instrument. The force required will depend on the size of the fish. The blow should be aimed just above the eyes to impact on the brain. The effectiveness of the stun should be checked and another blow applied if the fish is not unconscious.

Spiking involves driving a sharp spike (such as an ice pick or a sharpened screwdriver) into the brain of the fish. The spike should be placed in a position to penetrate the brain of the fish and then pushed quickly and firmly into the skull. The impact of the spike should produce immediate unconsciousness. The spike should then be moved from side to side to destroy the brain. Visit www.ikijime.com for a detailed description of this process.

After stunning or spiking, the fish should be bled out by cutting the gill rakers or, with larger fish, a main artery.

Please have a look at the file below to learn where the brain of different kind of fish are located, as well as process to be followed:

ikijime brochure

Also I found the video below is quite useful.


The following methods are not suitable for killing fish as they do not result in a rapid or humane death: chilling with ice in holding water, carbon dioxide in holding water; chilling with ice and carbon dioxide in holding water; salt or ammonia baths; asphyxiation by removal from water; bleeding out without stunning.

Do fish feel pain?

The answer is yes. Scientific evidence that fish are sentient animals capable of experiencing pain and suffering has been building for some years. It has now reached a point where the sentience of fish is acknowledged and recognized by leading scientists across the world.

If we accept that fish are sentient and can experience pain, then we have an ethical obligation to treat fish humanely and avoid practices that have the potential to cause them pain, injury or suffering. This has significant implications for the treatment of fish in commercial fisheries, aquaculture (fish farming) and in recreational fishing. Given the number of animals involved, the impact of current fish harvesting and capture methods on the welfare of fish is enormous.

A number of strategies are needed to address this problem, including:

  • reducing the number of fish caught
  • reducing the suffering of fish during capture
  • using humane killing techniques as soon as possible after landing fish

banning the use of live bait.

If you want to know more about it, please visit the link below:

http://fishcount.org.uk/fish-welfare-in-commercial-fishing/fish-sentience/do-fish-feel-pain