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Fight Pirates with Fish

Perhaps my most Halfbaked scheme to date...
  [vote for,

The Gulf of Aden is known as one of the most dangerous shipping routes in the world. It is wide, with many small islands for pirates to hide behind. The Gulf of Aden is also blessed with an abundance of sea life, including whales, dolphins, tuna, billfish, sharks, sardines, and mackerel.

Recent controversy over the use of sonar in coastal waters has inspired this idea. Apparently, studies have shown that a massive number of beached whales actually beached themselves when they were driven into a state of panic and disorientation caused by military sonar. I guess it messed with their sense of direction or something like that.

Instead of banning sonar, however, and labelling it as an evil invention, I would suggest devoting more research to finding out what caused it to mess with the directional capabilities of affected sea life. Maybe it's a specific frequency range. Maybe a frequency could be found that would be harmless to mammals, but have that same effect on fish. Once such a frequency is found, perhaps it could be refined to cause affected fish to leap into the air with all their might.

If ships that travel through the Gulf of Aden were equipped with such a specialized kind of sonar, they could, in theory, cause with the flip of a switch all the fish within several miles of their ship to leap spontaneously into the air. Most tanker, passenger, and transport ships are tall enough that their passengers, cargo, and crew would be safely out of reach of the leaping fish.

The pirates, in their uncovered, hollowed-out log boats, would not be safely out of reach, and their high-powered suped-up take-down engines would propel them at a terrifying speed into a frenzy of airborne fish. For those of you who never seen a fish/face collision, let me assure you that it is not a pretty sight, nor is it comical in any way. In the Couer d'Alene River, for instance, boaters, tubers, and rafters have been seriously injured by leaping mackerel. Injuries I've read about include broken noses, jawbones, cheekbones, collarbones, and neck & spinal injuries. Another side-effect would be the weight of fish piling up in the boat, which could cause it to capsize.

I think that should be a nicely effective pirate deterrent. Mind you, this is based on a theory I concocted which would require research and experimentation to implement. But, I think it could be done.

21 Quest, Apr 11 2009

Cephalopods are the future of warefare http://www.halfbake...0Fighting_20Octopus
[AbsintheWithoutLeave, Apr 13 2009]

This fish is a load of colin http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7984854.stm
[coprocephalous, Apr 14 2009]

Dolphins vs Pirates http://news.xinhuan...ontent_11184581.htm
'Thousands of dolphins block Somali pirates' [mylodon, Apr 14 2009]


       This is just a question, not a criticism. Do fish generally use echolocation, or is that just cetaceans? I would expect it to be possible to mislead a dolphin in such a way, but i'm not sure about tuna. Another issue would then be whether dolphins are capable of language, and if so, whether that language involves "sound pictures" as nouns. If it does, is that lying? If so, how important is it?
An alternative might be to use some kind of species of fat bat.
nineteenthly, Apr 12 2009

       Upon further research, it would appear that fish are *not* susceptible to sonar tampering. However, many fish such as sharks, rays, and catfishes, are electroreceptive, meaning they have the ability to detect electric fields, which they use for hunting electrogenic fish such as eels. Electrogenic fish generate an electric field from an organ called the electric organ, and this field is used for navigation, communication, and incapacitating prey.

       So, if we can generate a mild electric field of the right type, we can fool all the electroreceptive fish and drive them crazy, causing them to leap into the air. This is actually better for pirate-hunting because it gets sharks involved, too. The great benefit is that it leaves non-electroceptive animals, such as marine mammals, untouched.
21 Quest, Apr 12 2009

       OK. In that case, could you maybe attract a shoal of electricity-sensitive fish to the hull of your boat, then, when under attack, suddenly flip the magnetic field in a manner which would lead them all to jump into the air simultaneously?
I do have a slight gotcha in mind still, well two actually. One is the presence of mutual enemies in the vicinity of the boat. The other is the prevalence of appropriate animals in the Gulf of Aden. Even if not, though, i would suspect they could be carried with the ship once it had been in other areas where such rays and the like lived.
nineteenthly, Apr 12 2009

       You need frickin' sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their frickin' heads.
4whom, Apr 13 2009

       Who needs frickin' lasers when I have sharks that frickin' jump?
21 Quest, Apr 13 2009

       You need frickin' *jumping* sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their frickin' heads.
4whom, Apr 13 2009

       You could just create a market for fish caught in these waters. Then all your pirates would mysteriously disappear, replaced overnight by fishermen...
GutPunchLullabies, Apr 13 2009

       Yeah, those bloody pirates with fish. Get them out of here.
Ian Tindale, Apr 13 2009

       It wouldn't kill the fishies. The fish are robust enough to withstand a smack against a human nose, and the pirates probably wouldn't waste any time tossing the ones that land in the boat back into the water.
21 Quest, Apr 13 2009

       " … broken noses, jawbones, cheekbones, collarbones, and neck & spinal injuries."

       Better than mistreating fish (wot?), create fog near pirate ships and board them with SEALS or ninjas. Snap metal collars on pirates and throw them away. For the finale, CIA or Interpol agents spread a rumor that pirates are taking ransom money and defecting.
reensure, Apr 14 2009

       Oh, my, [21 Quest]! You hijacked my endearing boat-hull-kissing submarine robot, thinking it is some killer shark! Please turn off your sonar and electric-field generator controls! You messed its autonomous control!!! Now, see the destruction of small boats in your vicinity! Its snout is meant for a gentle nudge, now, you messed its propulsion controls, sending my craft into diving and resurfacing bumping every hulls of these poor, wrecked, sinking vessels! My poor baby, please, you're not a freak ballistic missile...
rotary, Apr 14 2009

       Maybe snipers could fire fish directly at the pirates, given the scale of the problem.
Aristotle, Apr 14 2009

       It gives a whole new dimension to the word "exocet".
nineteenthly, Apr 14 2009

       But if you could make all the different sea animals leap out of the water at will, then imagine what sort of symphony someone like Jean-Michel Jarre could create.....sod the pirates (just nuke 'em) and embrace sea symphonies !
Hairy Sock, Apr 14 2009

       //embrace sea symphonies//

Veho, Apr 14 2009

       Veho, you sound like Igor when you say it like that. Are we embracing our Transylvanian heritage, hm....?
21 Quest, Apr 14 2009

       Cod only knows what the porpoise of this idea is (I wish I haddock clue) - If pirates weren't the sole target, I think it might flounder. Imagine the scene - it's salmon enchanted evening on the high seas, and the appropriate frequency is in tuna - the pirate vessel has been spotted (bream), and you decide to roe your boat towards it, but there's a seal-ant problem and it's mako your boat sink, leaving you faced between calling for kelp - or having to clam up the side of the pirate's vessel (hoping that they have made the mist-hake of leaving the plaice relatively unguarded, or in the slim hope that some of the guards may be cross-dressers and are still wearing their high-eels - causing them to skate across the deck)

       All in all, I can see you're a dab hand at this [21Q] (sorry to carp on about it) but to be honest (and sorry to snipe) but I think the idea is a load of pollacks.
zen_tom, Apr 14 2009

       Fishbone (-). Also needs a better category.
csea, Apr 14 2009

       // a load of pollacks//
sp. "colin"
coprocephalous, Apr 14 2009

       Seriously though, while I do quite like the idea of controlling the actions of fish with some kind of machine, rather than using it for anti-piratical purposes, it might also be employed as powerful alternative to fishing - if the pirates catch on, they might start outfitting large bulbous vessels with collection funnels, and fly huge, oversized jolly rogers in order to attract as many electro-flung fish as possible, which they can sell on to fish-loving nations at a considerable profit.
zen_tom, Apr 14 2009

       What if fish spontaneously decided to fight pirates by themselves? Then no electronic stimuli is required.
mylodon, Apr 14 2009

       Fight pirates using filth! Instead of water cannons, simply install a septic reservoir and fire the byproduct of months at sea out of high pressure nozzles. Cheap, relatively harmless and devastatingly effective. They will however respond with lethal weapons fire so some sort of armored gunners nest may be in order. Less brutal than fending them off with ice picks....
WcW, Apr 14 2009

       This will surely increase global warming.
Ian Tindale, Apr 15 2009

       Rays are sensitive to electricity and their skeletons are cartilaginous, so they're probably quite bouncy and not susceptible to fractures. Then again, that might make their internal organs more vulnerable.
nineteenthly, Apr 17 2009

       According to some of the 'pirates', they have been deprived of their livelihoods catching fish by large modern fishing vessels illegally operating in their waters, and act the way they do out of desperation, because the alternative is to be screwed over and starve. There are at least two sides to most stories.
spidermother, May 04 2009


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