Tetmeyer: Fish wreaks havoc on zoo staff


Columnist Grant Tetmeyer discloses a disturbing scientific experiment on fish to treat neurological diseases. 

Grant Tetmeyer

Editor’s Note: The following column is a satire piece. 

A group of researchers at the National Aquarium have finally released their findings on the attempted treatment of an Atlantic sailfish that had contracted Degenerative Clothetic Emporieous disease. Now, before I continue, I must warn you, dear reader, for this is a very startling and unsettling report. For those of you that are still reading this and can stomach it, we shall proceed.

Now, Degenerative Clothetic Emporieous disease is a viral neurological infection that may cause a fish to become more aggressive and controlling with an elevated sense of entitlement. Though it may be odd to think of a fish having a sense of entitlement, this case was an extremely severe case where the infection had been left for so long that it permanently altered the physical makeup of the fish’s brain as well as its behavior. It also caused the pigment cells in the fish’s skin to turn a striking color of orange, one that matches the color traditionally seen only on the dorsal portion of their bodies. The fish had become noncontagious, and this was seen as a rehabilitation experiment.

The original intention of the experiment was to see if putting this fish in an already functional school would help to facilitate a change in behavior. To keep balance, they removed one of the other members and put the affected fish into the school, which was allowed to interact with a large number of other fish schools and groups in a large rehab tank. Though there were some initial problems and inter-school conflict, the system seemed to be reshaping the sailfish’s behavior. 

But a year into the experiment, the affected sailfish started to guard food, protecting it from other fish and even his own school. It wasn’t long before it started to spread anti-Snapper sentiment and glorifying assault on female fish. The affected fish even began having some of the school build a wall between their side and the rest of the tank, though they only finished around a third of it. The state of the habitat in the tank had become so hostile that the scientists started deliberating removing the fish. 

When the affected fish heard this, it had the other sailfish attack the scientists and feeders whenever they came by as well as spreading propaganda of anti-science sentiment. The attacks became so relentless that a group of the scientists pushed to keep the affected fish in and to tamper any damage it did in its time at the National Aquarium. When the scientists decided to remove the fish through a tight decision, the Commission of Rehabilitation Experimentation told them they needed to complete the experiment to maintain the reputation of the aquarium. 

The damage and attacks by the sailfish directed by the affected one continued throughout the remainder of the experiment, and the concerns of the scientists were continually dismissed. It was only when members of the Commission came to review the tank and were the victim of one such attack they believed them. Afterwards, a vote was immediately had and the decision was made that the affected sailfish would be removed and returned to the Florida touch tank it came from. Though it did not leave without a fight, the scientists reported a noticeable uptick in the health of the other fish and the tank as a whole.

The scientists hoped this research may be helpful in treating some human neurological disorders but were sad when they were unable to come up with any useful data. Though it may seem strange, this research may have been helpful if correct. But can you really imagine an irritant, loud, orange human?