How To Ethically Kill A Fish? – Guide 2022

As a fisherman, you should be aware of the best practices for killing a fish so that it is dispatched as quickly and cleanly as possible. This will minimize any discomfort or suffering the fish experience.

The most frequently asked question is how to ethically kill a fish? the simple answer to ethically kill a fish is to use a sharp heavy knife, and slice through the fish’s brain arteries located under the gill area. This will kill instantly most of the time.

There are several other ways through which we can kill a fish ethically possible as mentioned below.

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Why Do We Need to Kill The Fish Ethically?

The pain and discomfort a fish experiences as a result of being caught will last for several minutes, so it is important to kill the fish quickly and humanely. Another reason why it is important to kill the fish quickly and humanely is that it keeps the meat from spoiling faster and becoming unappetizing. So that’s why is important to consider the following common ways to kill the fish ethically.

How to Ethically Kill a Fish? Most Common Methods 

There are three major methods for how do you kill a fish naturally and quickly that you can use depending on your situation and how much time is available to you. Each with its own advantages and disadvantages. In the following guide, we take a look at some of the more popular humane methods to kill a fish.

Method 1

This method is the simplest but also has the highest chance of causing death in under 15 seconds, requires no equipment. Take the fish out of the water by its gill plates (the bony plates at the front of the fish’s head) so that it cannot breathe. This will cause oxygen depletion rapidly and will usually cause unconsciousness within five or six seconds. If you don’t hold the gills firmly, you may injure the delicate internal organs of the fish.

Method 2

Here, the method of killing a fish fast involves slicing or stabbing it through the brain. The brain’s location varies from species to species, but it usually lies below the “dome”, which is behind and above the eyes.

If you are right-handed, your best option will likely be to hold the fish vertically and cut down, and slightly back toward yourself with a sharp knife or blade (e.g., a fillet knife) until you reach its head.

The dome can be found immediately behind and above its eyes; if you’re uncertain about where it lies, gently insert your finger into the fish’s eyesockets until you feel a spongy area. This is the brain cavity and there should be no resistance as it is very soft, making this a quick and effective method for killing a fish.

Method 3

Grab the fish by its tail and swing it hard against a rock or post so that its head makes contact with great force. This method can be effective if you have quick reflexes and are capable of getting a good grip on the fish. Fish are often still alive after this process so it should be followed up quickly with another method to kill the fish quickly. The advantage of this method is how quickly it can be done without any equipment other than your bare hands.

Is It Ethical To Kill A Fish With A Rock?

The answer is simply no it’s not really the best appropriate method, there are many other different methods to kill a fish. The rock method is not an ethical way because it can be very cruel and the fish will suffer longer than necessary.

How To Ensure That The Fish Doesn’t Feel Any Pain

It is quite possible that you may not always be able to kill the fish quickly enough to prevent it from having some brief discomfort, but if you do your best and follow these steps, you can ensure that the fish has minimal suffering. So do your best in order to minimize its pain and discomfort.

1) Knock Out The Fish

Place the fish in a bucket filled with water and place an object such as a heavy rock or brick on top of it, this will knock out or daze the fish instantly for a few minutes. By knocking out the fish 

2) Bleed The Fish

This is done by cutting through its brain arteries located under the gill area which will eliminate any pain and discomfort the fish may go through.

3) Place The Fish In Freshwater

The final moments of the process can sometimes last as long as an hour.

The Best Way To Dispatch The Fish Ethically

We describe to you the various methods of dispatching a fish, now it’s time to talk about how to dispatch ethically. It is important that you use as little time as possible to kill the fish as this will reduce stress on the fish and keep its meat from spoiling faster.

Once upon a time, people used sharp spears or arrows to kill the fish quickly by piercing it through the brain, but that was not efficient. The most common method is to cut the gills so the blood can flow out and you can kill the fish as fast and quick as possible so the fish can’t suffer from pain or discomfort.


There are many ways to kill a fish quickly and ethically. You must choose the method according to your circumstances. The best way is to use a sharp heavy knife, slice through the fish’s brain arteries located under the gill area. However, the three methods outlined above are among your best options for killing a fish quickly and humanely.


1) What’s the best way to kill a fish?

-The best way to kill a fish is to cut through its brain arteries located under the gill area with a sharp heavy knife.

2) Why do we need to kill the fish quickly before it dies on its own?

-Because killing it quickly minimizes the time it suffers, which reduces stress on the fish. So do your best to kill it quickly and without causing too much pain or discomfort.

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