the pain of the fish

A few days ago, the Constitutional Court issued a ruling that by all accounts has generated more questions than certainties, a decision that in some way jumps from the eminently legal level to a discussion that must be made within social and, above all, cultural reflection.

It is about sentence C-148-22 that declared sport fishing unconstitutional; in this understanding, the decision of the highest constitutional court was based on a lawsuit against Decree 2811 of 1974, by which the National Code of Renewable Natural Resources and Protection of the Environment and other provisions is issued, said file declared the unconstitutionality of articles 273 of Decree Law 2811 of 1974; literal c) of numeral 2 of article 8 of Law 13 of 1990, which in the judgment of the plenary chamber, determined “that sport fishing is an activity that violates the precautionary principle and the prohibition of animal abuse, and therefore should be excluded from the legal system.

This sentence has undoubtedly given much to talk about, especially for the traditional and customary activity of sport fishing that for centuries has been entrenched within the ways of feeling and acting in our society.

It is no secret to anyone that before the comforts of our times and prior to state-of-the-art developments, outdoor sports activities such as fishing and hunting were perhaps one of the few spaces available for recreation and leisure , activities that for decades have been opting for the creation of different organizations and associations aimed at promoting the responsible and sustainable practice of these activities, which, as we reiterate, have been practically inherent to the human condition.

However, to the extent that society has evolved, the norms that set the social environment have had to mutate to generate better and greater dimensions of protection and precisely the provisions relating to animals have drastically mutated. That old conception of Roman law in which animal species were classified as things (res) completely mutated to consider them today in sentient beings, that is, living organisms whose nervous system makes them susceptible to pain, thus structuring a new trend law regarding the de-objectification of animals.

Precisely, the Court, when carrying out this analysis in the ruling that we bring to collation, does not choose to specify or conceptualize whether the fish are sentient or not. However, he appealed to protect aquatic species by virtue of the precautionary principle and consequently to the environmental damage inherent to the fishing activity and hence the imminent intervention of the State in order to protect natural resources.

In our view, the discussion could not be limited to this level and, on the contrary, it should be consistent with the cultural foundations behind sport fishing, which in many cases goes beyond a simple activity of catching and releasing fish, but of a whole exercise and environmental effort; There are many private organizations and associations that, before removing any animal from the water, have allocated significant economic and scientific resources to establish balanced ecosystems in which the constant sowing of fingerlings and small fish contribute to the adequate sustainability of lagoons, reservoirs and rivers.

Likewise, a culture of responsible and sustainable fishing that, unlike the considerations issued by the Court, are outlined in making the places where sport fishing activities are practiced better and better, it is no secret to anyone that Colombia, despite the complex difficulties of public order is an enviable place for the practice of sport fishing, there are many tourist agencies in the United States, a country where this sport activity generates millions of dollars in profits annually for its economy, which promote and exalt the importance of fishing in Colombia.

Increasingly there are documentaries and audiovisual productions that show the advantages of the magnificent places for fishing in our country, that is, the giant tourist potential that our ecosystems have will be marginalized by this ruling, a true tourist attraction that in a sustainable way came climbing for decades in our country will become a restricted activity.

However, sadly, the Court, by not taking into account these diaphanous realities, ignored that the need to consume fish is inherent to humanity and hence, without the existence of sustainability factors that sport fishing contributed to aquatic ecosystems, we could be facing to a real risk of a climatic collapse, this before an eventual imbalance in the respective aquatic ecosystems.

We cannot contradict the jurisdictional prerogatives of the Constitutional Court, but it is necessary to invite reflection on the suitability and relevance of certain rulings, because based on these considerations, we will be ad portas that contact sports such as soccer can become a disproportionate risk. for its practitioners, an eventual risk to physical integrity in light of this judicial line of thought.

We consider that the supreme function of safeguarding the majesty of the Political Constitution must be proportional to such a great responsibility, and hence these rulings must nurture our jurisprudential wealth, instead of generating questions that direct attention towards legal insecurity.

The truth is that a generational and ancestral practice such as sport fishing was classified as a restricted activity, equating it to the crudeness of the other activities that the law has declared proscribed due to its social danger, due to some arguments that not even the The same Court was able to determine from the scientific point of view, since it did not even establish a position on the legal problem of whether fish are sentient beings.

Health and Fishing!!

Leave a Comment