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Zombie bass: Electrofishing biologists zap fish, turn them into temp zombies

floridawildlifemagazine.com
floridawildlifemagazine.comTagging largemouth bass.

Zombie bass” could be coming to a lake near you. Dozens of stunned bass and other fish, in a zombie-like trance, floated to the surface of an Alabama lake after biologists sent an electrical charge into the water. The biologists were conducting “electrofishing” catch and release in order to tag and study their zombified fish.

Reports NewsMax on April 7: “On any other day it would have been an angler's paradise as dozens of zombie bass rose eerily out of a north Alabama lake, but on this day biologists were conducting a study of fish habitat using electrofishing to stun fish in a Tennessee Valley Authority lake.”

Over 200 largemouth bass, which typically like the deeper lake depths, floated up after the crew delivered weak electrical charges via a generator running on the boat.

Fisheries biologist John Justice said the practice is safe, and that fish are only incapacitated for a few minutes.

“Generally speaking they recover within a few seconds to a couple of minutes,” Justice said. “By looking at the overall health and condition of the fish we collect we can tell a lot about what's going on with the fishery.”

Veteran fishermen Roger Morris and Bernie Fuller were on hand to see the strange sight of bass floating silently up to the surface. Both were surprised by the size and amount of bass in the lake that they regularly fish.

“They’re pulling some 3- to 4-pounders regularly and all day we may catch three or four that size,” said Morris.

"I've learned there's a lot of fish in here," Fuller said.

NewsMax picks up the story:

Momentarily incapacitated by a weak electrical charge that's fed into the water from a boat equipped with a humming generator, fish large and small floated motionless to the surface during an electrofishing trip last week. They were scooped up with a net and placed into an aerated holding tank.

Eyes wide and mouths agape, stunned fish were measured, weighed and checked for illnesses and parasites. Within a few minutes the animals snapped out of a zombie-like state, and workers put them back in the water to swim away.

Scooping up the stunned fish for science may be convenient, but not all agree with the practice that puts fish, snakes, turtles and any other lake life into a trance-like state.

Reports the Inquisitr:

Biologists said the electricity has no lasting effect on the fish, which fully recover within a few minutes at most, but some people have taken issue with the treatment of the zombie bass. Animal protection groups including People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals claim the electrofishing is painful and unnecessary. Some have even argued that fish are more sensitive to pain than human babies.