Over the course of the last few decades, releasing fish has become an increasingly common practice. Whether by choice or by regulation, many anglers regularly release fish. In both cases, the objective is to return a healthy fish to the water.
However, mishandling a fish by placing it on dry surfaces like a riverbank or exposing it to air for an extended period of time can impact fish health. Just because a fish swims away doesn’t mean that it has quickly recovered from capture and handling. Impacts can range from short-term impairment of swimming to delayed symptoms such as reduced fertility and even mortality.
That said, anglers can ensure fish are released as healthy as possible by following the keepemwet principles and by incorporating a handful of easy practices when catching, handling, photographing, and releasing fish.
Coined in 2010 by Bryan Huskey, the phrase "keepemwet" has transformed from a social media hashtag into a growing movement that represents the evolution of releasing fish. With the support of fish conservation organizations and fishing companies, the keepemwet movement is raising awareness about proper fish handling and releasing practices as well as supporting the work of the scientific community to further our understanding of this important subject.