Dangerous And Deadly Lionfish Captured Off The UK Shores For The First Time
A venomous fish capable of paralysing and even killing humans has been discovered in waters off a popular UK tourist beach.
An amateur fisherman caught the six-inch lionfish – which carries spines capable of delivering deadly venomous stings – this week, in what’s believed to be the first instance of the species being found in British waters.
The fish are well-known predators in coral reef systems, but are primarily found in warmer waters like the Indian Ocean and South Pacific, making the discovery of one off the coast of the UK a significant surprise.
Arfon Summers, 39, who made the catch while fishing on Chesil Beach in Dorset, told The Sun of his discovery:
My mind was blown, a lionfish is a new offshore personal best. It’s no doubt the ocean is getting warmer to house these.
I didn’t let it go due to it being an invasive species.
It’s thought that warming ocean temperatures have caused the fish to migrate further west in recent years, with the species also having been discovered in the Mediterranean.
Though lionfish are mostly found in all-marine habitats hunting other fish, stings from their spines are known to cause pain, respiratory problems, and in extreme cases paralysis and even death for humans.
The species, which have distinctive red, white and brown stripes along their bodies, can grow up to a length of 18 inches, with smaller fish around one-inch in size. No other reports of lionfish have been made in British waters.
Yet as rare a discovery as it is, hopefully Summers decided against serving the fish up as his catch of the day. According to NBC in 2012, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration launched a campaign urging Americans to eat lionfish as a way of preventing the invasive species from disrupting local ecosystems, but the plans backfired after the Food and Drug Administration found that many of the fish carried high levels of a toxin poisonous to humans.
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