Pure weev-il | 

Venomous fish pose risk to bathers days after thousands of jellyfish invade Cork

There have been numerous reports of the weever fish on beaches around the coast over the past month
The dreaded weever fish

The dreaded weever fish

Neil Fetherstonhaugh

Venomous fish are now posing a new risk to Munster bathers just days after thousands of jellyfish floated into Cobh harbour in Cork.

There have been numerous reports of the weever fish on beaches around the coast over the past month.

The 15cm fish can be quite difficult to spot as it tends to bury itself in the sand, leaving only its eyes, mouth, and its stinging spine exposed.

Mostly grey or brown in colour, the vast majority of stings from the weever are the result of unsuspecting beachgoers accidentally stepping or placing their hands on them.

Kevin Flannery, a marine biologist at Oceanworld Aquarium in Dingle, said there are two types of weever in Ireland, “the lesser and the greater."

Weever fish stings are extremely painful

Weever fish stings are extremely painful

"The greater is offshore, but it’s always been the lesser one onshore that people have come across," he said.

"They tend not to like places where people would walk, but you do sometimes find them if you go off the beaten track."

Mr Flannery said the fish’s sting - which comes from a syringe-like spine on their fin - can be "severely, severely painful."

A sting from a weever can cause itching, swelling, numbness, nausea, headaches, lightheadedness, and abdominal cramps.

In rare cases, the sting can lead to respiratory problems, seizures, anaphylactic shock, and unconsciousness.

Depending on the severity of the sting and the individual’s reaction, it can take anything from a few hours to a few days to fully recover.

If more severe symptoms and resulting pain persist, medical attention should be sought.

"The fish have always been found in Irish waters,” Mr Flannery added. “If you are going wandering, keep an eye out and avoid them, and do not try to pick them up under any circumstances," he said.

Last week, huge numbers of jellyfish were reported along the Cork Coastline at popular swimming locations such as Myrtleville, Sandycove and Cobh’s Kennedy Pier.

Cindi Bonny the owner of The Beanie Box coffee shop took to her Instagram page to share the spectacle.

She said, “Today down in Cobh we saw so many jellyfish! It’s mad!!”

Ms Bonny said this summer she has noticed an increase of jellyfish in Cork waters.

She said: “In general I have noticed an increase of jellyfish in the area for sure as my daughter would be in the water most of the time.

“I'd say the unusually high temperatures we’re getting at the moment - when we get it - and the water temperature rising, that’s bringing them all to the area,” she said.

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