When practising catch-and-release, the use of a barbless hook will dramatically increase the chances of the fish surviving. Not only is it easier to unhook the fish – you can even do it without lifting the fish from the water if you so desire with a pair of pliers – a barbless hook will also cause less damage to the internal organs of the fish if it happened to swallow the entire hook.
Even if you were fishing for food, there may also be some good reasons to still opt for barbless hooks: such as when you get yourself hooked and need to get the hook out as quickly and painlessly as possible. While some people feel that a barbless hook’s penetrating power is also greater than that of a barbed hook, I personally feel that there is little difference. However, it is still good practice to debarb your hook whenever you are practicing catch-and-release.