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Zombie bass float to Alabama lake surface in electrofishing study

So-called zombie bass are helping biologists better manage lake ecology.
So-called zombie bass are helping biologists better manage lake ecology.
WikiMedia Commons

Zombie bass were scooped by the dozens out of an Alabama lake, but the fish weren’t a scene from a bad horror movie but rather part of an effort by biologists to better understand lake management, the Montgomery Advertiser reported on April 7.

The zombie bass were created when biologists with the Tennessee Valley Authority, which manages lakes in the region, momentarily stunned the bass with a method called electrofishing.

In electrofishing, a weak electrical charge is fed into the lake water from a boat equipped with a humming generator, which stuns the fish and causes them to float to the surface, alive but vacant-eyed, much like zombies and the walking dead, or in this case, the swimming dead.

The zombie bass are then scooped out of the lake and measured, weighed and checked for parasites and illnesses. The fish zombies are then released back into the lake, where they awaken from their zombie-like state and apparently swim away unharmed.

Some animal rights activists, however, such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, oppose electrofishing, contending that it causes the fish pain and can harm them.

While biologists don’t deliberately create zombie bass for any horror effects, the electrofishing is part of a large effort by the TVA to better manage lakes, including stocking programs and catch limits, the Inquisitr noted in an article about the zombie bass.

In the long run, that can be good both for the environment and for the $48 billion recreational fishing industry.

In the most recent electrofishing effort, the zombie bass were being studied at Wheeler Lake near Rogersville, Alabama, which is situated along the Elk and Tennessee Rivers in North Alabama.

About 200 bass and crappie were collected during three hours of electrofishing recently on Wheeler Lake, a Star Tribune article reported. The zombie fish were studied and returned to the lake with no ill effects authorities said.

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