dead fish swimming

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Senior Member

One senetence from National Geographic (Dec., 2014):

"In 2000 the government declared a state of emergency and slashed the number of commercial licenses. Yet many stocks remain at perilously low level---dead fish swimming."

Does it mean that the dead fish are plentiful in the sea?

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    Senior Member
    American English
    It is a play on the description of a man on death row walking to his execution: dead man walking. He's walking, but he's essentially dead ... or will be very soon.

    So this is say that the fish are now swimming, but they will soon be gone.
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