Warning for swimmers and sunbathers as dangerous fish with toxic spines found on British beaches

Kit Heren
·2-min read
Aaron said the weaver fish sting felt 'like stepping on glass'
Aaron said the weaver fish sting felt 'like stepping on glass'

Beachgoers have been warned to watch out for a dangerous spiky fish that could ruin a sunny day on the sand.

Weever fish, which wash up onto British beaches, hiding in the sand in shallow water, have toxic spines on their backs that can cause agonising pain and even heart attacks - although there has reportedly only been one death in the UK linked to the fish.

And coast safety teams have warned sunseekers to take care amid the scorching weather this summer.

Millom Coastguard Rescue Team in Cumbria said in June: "It is advised that people, especially children, wear waterproof shoes or sandals when walking in shallow water or rocky areas.

"Or scuff or stamp your feet when walking in shallow water to make sea creatures aware you’re approaching.

"If you are stung, rinse the affected area with sea water, and remove any spines from the skin using tweezers or the edge of a bank card, taking care not to push them deeper.

"It is important not to touch the spines with your bare hands.

"Soaking the area in hot water for 30 minutes, using flannels or towels if unable to soak, will break up the venom."

Beachgoers in Bournemouth on Saturday (PA)
Beachgoers in Bournemouth on Saturday (PA)

There were several reports in 2019 of painful incidents involving weever fish in Criccieth, north Wales - but the fish can appear in any part of the UK.

A spokesperson for Criccieth Lifeboats said last year: "The weever fish’s sting is painful but not normally serious. If you or a family member is stung, it’s best to bathe the affected area in warm water.

"If the pain does not subside or the wound becomes inflamed, consult a doctor."

But Marc Kativu-Smith, coastal centres manager for Dorset Wildlife Trust, said people should not worry too much.

He told the Dorset Echo: "It’s worth remembering that this tiny little fish is not out to harm anyone, it is only protecting itself, and people shouldn’t spend too much time worrying about them...

"Just remember to wear shoes or shuffle!"

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