Poisonous species of puffer fish appear off the coast of Croatia


A fisherman recently made a worrying catch off the coast of the Croatian island of Ceja. In the net he found rabbit-headed puffer fish (photo above), which are among the most poisonous fish in the world.

It is said that the fisherman caught the animals early last week. The nearby Pula Aquarium reported on Facebook (see post below) that a total of seven individuals were sighted in Medulin Bay. One of the pufferfish was caught at a depth of 19 meters.

Fish species produce extremely strong poison
Because a silver-colored band runs from the mouth to the deeply forked tail fin, the animal is also called the silver-striped puffer fish. This silver lining contains an extremely powerful poison called tetrodotoxin. If consumed, it can cause serious health problems and even death.

Tetrodotoxin is most concentrated in the gonads and liver, but is also found on the skin. A dose of just one to two milligrams is believed to be fatal. The symptoms of poisoning appear approximately 45 minutes after ingestion of the poison.

Türkiye has put a bounty on the animals
Turkish fishermen have been complaining for years about the increasing spread of puffer fish in the Mediterranean Sea. In the summer of 2021, the government in Ankara declared war on the poisonous animal with a bounty on its head.

From the beginning of July, fishermen on Turkey’s Mediterranean and Aegean coasts could hand in the caught hare’s head puffer at designated locations and receive five Turkish lira in return (about 50 cents at the time). The program would run until the end of 2023 and would apply to up to 500,000 hare puffers.

Problematic for fishermen and biodiversity
According to experts, harehead pufferfish are destroying the marine ecosystem due to their excessive presence and also causing great harm to fishermen. It is said that it not only often eats away their catch, but also bites through the nets. According to biologists, its occurrence also has a negative effect on biodiversity.

The fish, which is native to the warmer Red Sea, migrated to the Mediterranean Sea via the Suez Canal, which opened in 1869. Because there are hardly any predators in the Mediterranean, the species has been able to spread relatively undisturbed, researchers say. Global warming and rising temperatures in the Mediterranean Sea also make it easier for the hare’s head puffer to spread there.

Source: Krone


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