Researchers and fisheries professionals must handle fish while considering the safety and welfare of both fish and handler. Pharmaceuticals have long been used during fish handling procedures (e.g. surgeries), but have drawbacks such as the inability to immediately release wild fish post-exposure. The use of electricity to immobilize fish ("electroimmobilization") is a viable and effective alternative, yet its novelty comes with difficulties for its formal incorporation into animal care guidelines. I provide the first review of the electroimmobilization, synthesizing current knowledge, gaps, and future directions. I then use an experimental approach to address whether pharmaceuticals may be beneficial when applied in conjunction with electroimmobilization. I found that fish electroimmobilized during a short-term surgical procedure did not benefit from the application of a local analgesic to the surgery site. Overall, much evidence exists to support the use of electroimmobilization instead of pharmaceuticals, but many questions still remain unanswered.