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What Happen After Fish Dies

I guess all carnivorous fish go to Hell as they are mass murderers and all Phytoplankton eating fish go to heaven.

Why just fish, this is what happens when any living being dies. I will try to explain this in as lucid terms as possible. I do not want you to go through the same pain of decoding the jargon.

When life stops, the first thing that happens is heart stops pumping blood, and therefore, the cells do not receive oxygen. Depending on the size of the fish, its muscle composition, cell structure, reason for death, injuries and incisions on the body, fat content, oil content, weather conditions, humidity, heat, is it in water or outside) it takes anywhere between 15 mnts to about couple of hours and may be 10 hours (depending on the factors mentioned earlier) for the body to realize it. Thats when the rigor mortis starts. It is good to eat a fish in this stage, but the it tastes better in the next stage.

Rigor mortis is the first stage after death, where body tries to protect itself from the free radicals or external attack of bacteria and virus by stiffening its body as a defense mechanism. Lot of fishes actually secrete slime during this time to ensure no foreign body enters its body and gets stuck on to the slime (And all this while you thought slime was bad). This stage can last between 4 to 5 hours to a day or two depending on the the factors mentioned earlier. But in most fish we eat, it ends in about 4 to 10 hours. Best phase to consume fish.

Autolysis is a combination of two words Auto and lysis is the next stage after rigor mortis. Auto means automatic (some one joked about the Das Auto slogan of Wolkswagen saying, 10 autos, it actually means, The Car) Lysis is reaction. What we need to understand here is with out any foreign body or free radical or virus or bacteria intervention, the body through its own internal mechanism starts triggering chemical, enzymatic and hormonal reactions. That is why it is called autolysis. The body triggers a series of internal reactions to transition the journey to the next stage. It is difficult and inaccurate to generalize the duration of this stage and too many factors contribute to it. Even in this stage the fish is good to be consumed. The body still resists foreign body attacks and free radicals and literally has no external influence.

Putrefaction is the next stage to autolysis. To putrefy is to decompose. In this stage the body has given up and is let open for free radical and foreign body attacks. Which means the body is susceptible to bacterial and viral attacks and they will start breeding, while the chemical and enzymatic reactions keep continuing, the bacteria and virus only accentuate it. Some of the typical reactions and symptoms are Histidine reacts with oxygen and forms Histamine. This is what causes the red rashes if you eat it. As the stage progresses body starts producing gases which give the fish rotten and spoilt smell. This is what you smell when you go to fish markets, where waste management systems are at its worst, Alpha Amino Nitrogen. The belly portion of the fish is filled with it and bulges. All the meat and skin gets rotten with infection and is clearly visible. The body continues to decompose until all muscle, fat and every part of the body is rotten and bones start coming out.

Skeletonisation is the stage where the what remains in the body is the bones and nothing else, which finally becomes part of the earth.