Zombie Bass, Electrofishing, Apocalypse Now?

Biologists are using a technology called electrofishing to temporarily incapacitate bass fish for research. Many animal friendly groups including PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, are greatly opposed to this method of catching fish, even if for research only.

Zombie bass, contrary to popular belief, is a fish in a shocked, frozen state. At first appearances, one may believe that a zombie bass is a bass who has been caught, eaten and is now coming back for revenge a’la The Walking Dead, or in this case, The Swimming Dead.

As the late, great comedian Patrice O’Neal said during one of his shows, ‘We do a lot of messed up things to fish’. We trick them, pierce them, drag them, make them fight for their lives, and eat them. The punchline to O’Neal’s joke is we do it because they don’t have eyebrows. Researchers, possibly not familiar with the trickery of catching a fish with a lure, or a piece of bologna, have to send electricity into the water in order to shock the fish into a zombie like state and bring them to the surface. Hence, the moniker ‘zombie fish’. Perhaps researchers have never read the warning label of a portable radio, hair dryer, or toaster. Whose making toast in the shower anyway?

Now that this method of temporarily catching fish is out and in the news, one can’t help but wonder how many sport fisherman or hunters will start using the method. Although it may be illegal for just anyone to send an electrical current into an open body of water, the idea has been planted. It may be just a matter of time before we see 14 foot fishing boats equipped with generators and electrical probes.

If we have to send electrical current into the water in order to catch a fish, what’s next? Once the fish build a tolerance to electricity, we’ll have to figure another way to mass catch zombie bass. How about filling the lake with just enough alcohol to make them pass out? How about a really big vacuum cleaner to suck them out of the water from the bottom?

Researchers are doing a good thing by taking an inventory of fish in our lakes and rivers, however there surely has to be a better way. Perhaps researchers do take issue with fish not having eyebrows. While we may poke fun at the notion of zombie fish in our waterways, researchers may do well to find a better method of catching and releasing our fish.