Mental Floss

It's hard out there for a fish


You think you've had a tough week? Just be glad you're not a member of Class Osteichthyes, which has taken a real beating in the last few days. 40,000 salmon and trout died in Scotland this week after someone poisoned their river with sodium hypochlorite, a chemical used for treating water in swimming pools. Thousands of sturgeon who already had the bad luck to be living in an aquaculture farm died in a six-alarm fire last night at the Mote Marine Lab in Sarasota. (It's unfortunate for local restaurants, too; about 30 tons of fish were lost.) All kinds of fish have been dying of mysterious causes since late May in Lake Erie, Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. The reason may be a virus; Cornell researchers confirmed last week that viral hemorrhagic septicemia, which was found in the northeast for the first time in June, has infected at least four species. (No humans, though; it's strictly a fishy virus.) And then there's the poor guy pictured above, who was caught by British fisherman Bob Watton last week -- twice.

We're not even going to get into the overfishing issue, but if this keeps up there really won't be other fish in the sea.