Accidental electroshock of fish in a recirculation facility

Effect of short, accidental electrical exposure on fish in a research facility

source D.J. Pasnik et al
Veterinary Record vol 153 no 18, November 1 2003
starts p 562, 3 pages long

Fish can be hit by lightning, or affected by faulty electrical equipment. This study shows the effects of a brief, accidental exposure on yellow perch, kept in a lab setting. The fish were all found lying on the tank bottom, and their bodies were distorted. The system was repaired, but the fish were subsequently not able to eat unless fed by hand. Ten weeks after the event, they were euthanased. The fish were examined and found to have luxations and vertebral fractures. There were also haemorrhages in the fishes' dorsal musculatures. These injuries were caused by the accidental shock, though the equipment was designed to cut out after some 0.025 seconds. The spinal deformities seen in these fish appear to be the result of severe contractions of white muscles. The vertebral column absorbs stresses, and fractures or compresses. These fish did not show signs of burns, which is to be expected, since they were immersed in water. Electrocuted fish can be permanently deformed after electrical exposure, and this can lead to 100% mortality rates. Nerve, tissue, and muscle damage can result from exposure to electricity. Fertility, growth and stamina can be affected, and changes in the blood chemistry of electrocuted fish have also been noted, including higher levels of cortisol and glucose.