Stone Fish – How to Play Safe in the Whitsundays and on the Great Barrier Reef
Stone Fish By Name But Not By Nature
A stone fish, just as the name suggests, looks exactly the same as a stone or grey rock but with a mouth. Not the prettiest of creatures and these fish bite worse than they bark. Care needs to be taken walking along the base of the ocean anywhere in the Great Barrier Reef. Recorded injuries are few and far between but only because anyone who has been inflicted has managed to seek medical treatment within a short time of the incident.
The stone fish lays dormant on the ocean floor and disguises itself as a grey or mottled rock. At first glance there is nothing to distinguish the stone fish from any other stone. Great care needs to be taken when walking through the shallows of the Great Barrier Reef as the poisonous barbs on its surface make the stone fish one of the dangerous marine creatures that can turn the holiday of a lifetime into a nightmare.
Stones not stone fish
Play Safe in the Whitsundays
The Great Barrier Reef and waters of the Whitsundays are full of fascinating creatures but some are quite harmful and should be treated with respect. The stone fish protects itself with poisonous toxins held in its 13 dorsal spines. The poison is released when any of these spines are pressed, mostly when stepped on. Wearing covered shoes with a solid sole will give the perfect protection for anyone wading through the shallows during low tide.
Unless you know the area well it is always safest to stick with guided tours when snorkeling or fishing around the area. The locals are friendly and knowledgeable about everything from weather patterns to fishing spots and perfect underwater adventures to make your stay in Airlie Beach a highlight of any Australian holiday.
Play Safe Take the Tours
Catch of the Day
Treatment and First Aid for Stone Fish Injury
First aid includes immersing the affected area in hot water. Follow up medical treatment might include local anaesthetic infiltration or an intravenous narcotic analgesic. In severe cases, anti-venom can be administered if there is severe pain, weakness or obvious paralysis of the site.
While there have been a few recorded incidences of serious injury from stone fish though, and only one or two deaths have ever been reported. As long as medical help is sought immediately following the bite or sting, an encounter with a stone fish can be little more than an unpleasant memory.
The Dangerous Creatures of the Great Barrier Reef Series has been commissioned by Toscana Village Resort, Airlie Beach Accommodation.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2012 Karen Wilton