I recently wrote up a summary of some of the current research literature to help support a dyed fish ordinance here in OKC. There's a fairly recent issue of the journal Diseases Of Aquatic Organisms dedicated entirely to fish welfare and whether they experience fear and pain.
We also have an article on euthanasia up
in my opinion, Finquel (MS-222) is by far the most humane way to kill a fish.
Why? you transfer it into the solution and it gets stoned and goes to sleep and eventually dies. No struggling, minimal stress.
Clove oil does produce some initial irritation. If you think it doesn't, rub some in your eye and see how you like it. LOL
but it's pretty quick if dosed correctly. by far a distant second choice.
For all you bag smackers. I think it would be pretty stressful to be out of the water and not be able to breath for the time it would take to get them in the bag and get outside to smack them. and the potential is there for it not to work the first time around. same with a blow to the head. I hope you do get splattered.
re severing the spinal column, I've killed many a fish that way back in my fishing days. If you do it right it is quick. but again, there's the stress that's happening being out of the water and being handled prior to being killed.
I'm not convinced that freezing is humane.
I firmly believe that if we're going to keep fish, it is our responsibility to help them die peacefully if at all possible. Finquel is readily available online these days in the US and isn't expensive, I highly recommend it.
I read up on Finquel, In my mind i could not net a fish and smack it, any faster than i could net one and place it in a tub with a suitable amount of Finquel to take care of the job. My concern is with the speed that the whole act takes place regardless of method.
Things die, and it is always unpleasant. If you need to euthanize a fish do so by the fastest means available to you. That may mean smacking it on the fishroom floor, a chemical if you have it, freezing it, whatever.
The point is, that if it is suffering, end it. No matter how you do it, it has to be better than allowing it to die slowly. I would not stress too much over finding the perfect tool of death. It will always suck.
I seriously doubt that what i am trying to reiterate could be better said.
Speed in the act will reduce that stress and suffering of the fish period.