A video of a glow-in-the-dark fish has sparked fears about radiation poisoning. Although “The Simpsons” is usually spot-on when it comes to predicting the future, glowing radiation-mutated fish aren’t a thing.
According to the video (below) Gulbarshin Kaydarova bought the herring from a market in Semey, Kazakhstan. After chopping it up to prepare it for dinner, she noticed it had odd growths inside it that appear to glow with a bright blue tinge when she turned off the light.
There is a phenomenon known as Cherenkov Radiation, where a highly radioactive material placed in water gives off a soft blue glow. This is perhaps the inspiration behind the pop-culture idea of radiation giving off a bright humming glow. However, this process needs a humongous amount of energy as it requires the charged particles to travel faster than the speed that light travels through water. It’s unlikely this small fish could have the same radioactivity as an industrial nuclear reactor, where this effect is most often seen.
An explanation is hard to get just from the video. Nevertheless, there is a species of bioluminescent bacteria, Vibrio phosphoreum, which is known to grow on dead sea fish. This photobacteria also glows with a similar blue tone to the light seen in the video.
Or perhaps, just as likely, it’s simply a hoax.