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A Fish Caught With Detailed ‘Tattoos’ Sparks Strange Internet Debate


The ocean is a large and mysterious place, and sometimes some pretty strange and inexplicable things can surface. Often times, the ones who stumble across these strange or bizarre things are the fishermen and anglers who spend their lives on the water.

Earlier this week, fishermen in the Philippines came across a very interesting fish. Instead an array of scales, the fish was covered with an intricate set of blue and white designs such as a shield, a crown and twisting vines.

The fishermen noticed the strange designs right away, and took a photo of it next to a normal fish for comparison before posting them online.  

After being posted online, the image was then shared on the local news channel GMA News. Since then, the image has sparked thousands of comments from people trying to figure out why this happened.

There are tons of theories going around as to how this fish got tattooed. Some of them are funny and creative, and others are more scientific and likely.

The most basic answer could be that some tattoo artist was practicing on the fish and then threw him back into the ocean. Although tattooing a live fish would definitely be a bit of a challenge.

One user had a more mystical theory, saying that there is a lot we don’t know about the ocean and that anything is possible. I’m not sure if she’s suggesting that there are underwater tattoo parlors or what.

Another equally unlikely theory is that there is an underwater prison where marine biologists tattoo the animals and fish. 

Screen Shot 2017-05-11 at 1.57.54 PMacidcow

Disney fans commented that the fish kind of resembles Maui from Moana. The shape-shifting, tattoo-bearing demi-god turned into a shark at one point in the film. It’s a pretty interesting theory!

The fish was caught by anglers in the province of Lopez Jaena, Misamis Occidental. It is believed by some to be the reincarnation of a god or at least having some form of mythical connection.

Screen Shot 2017-05-11 at 2.26.21 PMRachel-Lee Thomas

Judging from the lettering and patterns, it’s most likely that humans were responsible for this strange occurrence.


The most realistic theory came from a man named Steve Clark. He wrote that the tattoo most likely came from some form of trash or fabric that became embedded in the fish’s skin.

Although that’s the most probable answer, it’s still more fun coming up with and reading the more creative theories.

The fact that many people were coming up with creative and mythical possibilities shows that we never really lose that sense of wonder or belief in magic after growing up.

Tattooed fish seems to be a bit of a trend in certain parts of the world. This could definitely be considered a form of animal abuse.

It’s surprising that no one suggested that the photo could be photoshopped. It seems like that would be a pretty obvious explanation.

Screen Shot 2017-05-11 at 2.29.22 PMRachel-Lee Thomas

Although, it could be seen as something similar to the branding of cows, or even putting horse shoes horses hoofs.

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Lots of animals wear some sort of tag or identification, and it’s all against their will. I doubt that any of these fish enjoyed getting a tattoo. If you’ve ever gotten one, you’ll know it’s a pretty painful experience.

If it was a tattoo artist trying to get some practice, I would have used a fish that wasn’t alive.

Whatever the real outcome of the tattooed fish is, it’s hard to say. As for me, I’m liking the idea of something more mystical–but my guess is the pollution theory.


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