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Global Warming

global warming

At the moment weeverfish distribution is limited to the Southern end of the UK.

But with the onset of global warming and climate change
we must expect to see the weever fish start to move up
the coast of the North Sea.

That is why the work of Seasearch is so important to monitor and report the movements of species around our coast.

 
   
 

Weeverfish / Weaver Fish Public Enermy No 1?


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Is it safe to go into the water?

Weeverfish
Prevetion
Symptoms
Treatment

Bathers along Britain's coastline are being warned to be on the look-out for the country's most dangerous fish. The weever fish is more venomous than many jellyfish and as poisonous as the stingray.
The poisonous fish is predominately found near beaches along the south coast of Wales and England because they like warm shallow water.

Unfortunately the UK's press can sometimes over dramatise a situation. Below is some information about the Weeverfish to help you form you own judgment.

Although extremely unpleasant, weever stings are not generally dangerous and the pain will ease considerably within a few hours even if untreated. Complete recovery may take a week or more; in a few cases victims have reported swelling and/or stiffness persisting for months after envenomation.

Weevers (or Weaver fish) are nine species of fish of family Trachinidae, order Perciformes. They are long (< 37 cm), mainly brown and have poisonous spines on their first dorsal fin and gills. During the day, weevers bury themselves in sand, just showing their eyes, and snatch prey as it comes past, which consists of shrimps and small fish. Weevers are unusual in not having a swim bladder, as do most bony fishes and as a result sink as soon as they stop actively swimming.
Weevers are sometimes erroneously called 'weaver fish', although the word is unrelated. In fact, the word 'weever' is believed to derive from the Old French word 'wivre', meaning serpent or dragon, from the Latin 'vipera'. It is sometimes also known as the viperfish, although it is not related to the viperfish proper.

Most human stings are inflicted by the lesser weever < 14cm, which habitually remains buried in sandy areas of shallow water and is thus more likely to come into contact with bathers than other species (such as the greater weever, which prefers deeper water), stings from other species are generally limited to anglers and commercial fishermen. Even very shallow water (sometimes little more than damp sand) may harbour lesser weevers. The vast majority of injuries occur to the foot and are the result of stepping on buried fish, other common sites of injury are the hands and buttocks.
Stings are most common in the hours before and after low tide (especially at springs) so one possible precaution is to avoid bathing or paddling at these times. They also increase in frequency during the summer (to a maximum in August) but this is probably the result of the greater number of bathers.

The lesser weever can be found from the southern North Sea to the Mediterranean and is common around the south coast of the United Kingdom and Ireland, the Atlantic coast of France and Spain, and the northern coast of the Mediterranean. The high number of bathers found on popular tourist beaches in these areas means that stings are common although individual chances of being stung are low.

Prevention
Weever stings have been known to penetrate wet suit boots even through a rubber sole (if thin) and it is recommended that bathers and surfers wear sandals, "jelly shoes" or wetsuit boots with a relatively hard sole and avoid sitting or "rolling" in the shallows.

As most organisms will avoid contact with humans when ever possible, disturbing the sand as you move around may cause the weever fish to move to a quieter area rather than stinging you.

Symptoms
At first many victims believe they have simply scratched them-self on a sharp stone or shell, although this barely hurts, significant pain begins about 2–3 minutes after being stung. Weever stings cause severe pain, common descriptions from victims are "extremely painful" and "much worse than a wasp (or bee) sting".

Treatment
Although extremely unpleasant, weever stings are not generally dangerous and the pain will ease considerably within a few hours even if untreated. Complete recovery may take a week or more; in a few cases victims have reported swelling and/or stiffness persisting for months after envenomation.

First Aid treatment consists of immersing the affected area in hot water (as hot as the victim can bear) which will accelerate denaturation of the protein based venom. The use of hot water will reduce the pain felt by the victim after a few short minutes. Usual experience is that the pain then fades within ten to twenty minutes, as the water cools. Heat should be applied for at least 15 minutes but, as a rule of thumb: the longer the delay (before heat is applied) the longer the treatment should be continued. Once the pain has eased the injury should be checked for the remains of broken spines and any found need to be removed.

Medical advice should be sought if any of the symptoms persist or if swelling spreads beyond the immediate area of injury (e.g. from hand to arm), or if any other factors causes concern.

If in doubt always get medical assistance.

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