Sunday 19 November 2017

Bad tidings for sea swimmers as venomous fish near shore

Fiona Ellis

A VENOMOUS fish whose sting is excruciating could cause a nasty surprise to swimmers in Irish waters.

The combination of a new moon and a spring tide is likely to bring swimmers and surfers into contact with the toxic weever fish over the next two weekends.

The weever is a small poisonous fish that is found under the sand on Irish coasts. It usually lives beyond the tide line but with the waters low for the next few days people are going to walk into its territory.

The fish is about 15cm long and has a row of black venomous spines along its dorsal fin. It is sandy coloured and is hard to see.

Its sting is extremely painful. The agony is the most intense for the first two hours and the foot swells and goes red. People have been known to die from anaphylactic shock.

Irish Water Safety chief executive John Leech said: "As the tides go out further, we are concerned that people will come in to contact with the fish."

He advised people to stay out of the water and not to swim until "one hour after low water; to be even safer don't swim or walk on the shore for two hours after low water".

If you get stung, plunge your feet into very hot water. In some cases you may need an anti-venom injection from a doctor.

Irish Independent

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