Usually 'catch and release' fishing is ordered by law when fish of certain sizes are cought. The theory is that they will recover from the stress and injury of the hook and be able to eventually breed. It's a way to try to maintain the fish population - if all the fish of breeding ages were taken out of the water, you'd have no more fish! And with fishing, you can't choose which fish you catch like you could maybe decide which animal to shoot while hunting.
I'm not trying to debate that the fish gets stressed out or anything like that, just saying that fish and wildlife consider catch and release to be a useful population management tool - and it is a law that some fish have to be released, so the fisherman arn't always releasing the fish because they want to, they're doing it because they have too by law.
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