There has been a bit of discussion lately on what constitutes mutilation of fish with respect to Bleeding, Gutting and Gilling for retaining the fish quality, and how it will effect a record application.
The New Zealand Sport Fishing Council would like to clarify this and states the following:-
The actual rule reads “The following situations will disqualify a catch;…………
………2. Mutilation to the fish, prior to landing or boating the catch, caused by sharks, other fish, mammals, or propellers that remove or penetrate the flesh. (Injuries caused by leader or line, scratches, old healed scars or regeneration deformities are not considered to be disqualifying injuries.) Any mutilation on the fish must be shown in a photograph and fully explained in a separate report accompanying the record application.”
Therefore, the IGFA and the NZSFC do not consider gutting or bleeding a fish (there are many techniques) an act of mutilation that would disqualify the fish from a record eligibility, as none of these procedures could conceivably be done “prior to landing or boating the catch”. Removing the blood and/or organs from a fish would only decrease the overall weight and therefore would not give an advantage at the time of weighing.
With regard to mutilation; IGFA and NZSFC are only concerned with what happens during the fight. For example, should the fish be attacked by a shark, or struck with a propeller during the fight, it’s fighting ability has been compromised and therefore the IGFA and NZSFC would not consider it for a world record.
To clarify, line chaffing, gaff damage and old wounds or scars are not considered as mutilation, and once the fish has been landed it is perfectly acceptable to bleed or gut the fish – just make sure your catch is big enough to withstand the weightloss and still be a record.