Dead Fish in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Boredom Suspected Cause
Ah, we kid our brothers to the east. La Crosse is a lovely town, and boredom is rarely a direct cause of death there. Alcoholism, drunk driving, and various other pursuits taken up because of boredom, however? Very much a cause. But beer is probably not to blame for the death of several hundred bass.
The Wisconsin DNR have their ideas as to what caused it:
Nearly all of the 582 bass were marked with a clipped tail fin, evidence they were caught and released during a bass-fishing tournament from July 12-15, said David Hobbs of the state Department of Natural Resources.
This is the second year that higher-than-normal fish deaths were reported in the area following the Wal-Mart FLW Stren Series Bass Fishing Tournament, which attracted 400 anglers.
Last year, most of the dead fish tested positive for largemouth bass virus, which can cause death when the fish is stressed.
But the tournament participants aren't sold that they are to blame. One angler busts out something that sounds a lot like the Bass Tournament Fishing version of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle as his defense.
Ed Stellner of Onalaska is quoted in the article as saying, "However, I also should point out that there's a bass-fishing tournament in La Crosse every weekend, and when's the last time you saw this many dead? After last year's tournament (which was the first year of the study).''
Do you see what he's getting at there, people? Maybe the DNR, simply with their methods of observation, are killing the bass themselves. It is rather an elegant defense of the tournament. Because we don't know how many bass die after a tournament unless the DNR does its study, but we do know that lots of bass do die if the results are studied. Classic Heisenberg, baby. A real-life metaphor for Quantum Mechanics only comes along once in a while, and I was getting tired of that retread Schroedinger's Cat anyway.
Stellner may very well be right. It seems that if stress can worsen the effects of Largemouth Bass virus, it seems any way of being caught would have potential dangerous repercussions for the fish.
Clearly, somewhere, Carl Hiassen is scratching his head, and asking his assistant, "Are you sure this didn't happen in Florida?" Hiassen, of course, wrote one of the funniest books about Bass Fishing tournaments ever (not a lot of competition in that genre, admittedly) in Double Whammy. Perhaps you should peruse your favorite used book store--crime books almost make it there, no matter how goddamn funny they are.