Many people have concerns about encountering poisonous and dangerous creatures while on vacation, especially while in the water. But are these fears justified, and how likely is an encounter with a poisonous fish in popular holiday destinations like Croatia or Greece? Knowing what to do in such situations is crucial.
Good news to start with, there are not that many poisonous fish in recreational waters and with a little prevention the chances of encountering them are slim. With our article on sharks, we hope to have allayed any fears you may have had of these majestic guardians of the seas. Now we'll try to do the same with the venomous fish in popular yachting locations of the Mediterranean and tropics.
What you need to know about poisonous marine fish
- They are usually inconspicuous in colour and blend in with the reefs or bury themselves in the sand.
- It's their camouflage that's the problem. You simply step on them or touch them unintentionally.
- Poisonous fish like warm seas. That's why you'll find them almost exclusively in tropical and subtropical waters.
- Venomous fish are shy. They're more likely to swim away or hide. That's why they defend themselves with venomous spines.
YACHTING.COM TIP: To make sure your preparation is complete, read our most dangerous creatures of the Croatian seas and coastline — both aquatic and terrestrial.
Poisonous fish in yachting areas
You may encounter these fish while swimming, snorkelling or paddling in shallow water. Learn to identify them.
Toadfish and wrasses
Although kept by aquarists for their unique appearance, toadfish (Scorpaena) and lionfish (Pterois) are relatively unnoticeable in the sea. They camouflage themselves by mimicking underwater reefs and only raise their venomous spines in self-defense. Fortunately, their venom is not fatal to humans, but it hurts a lot and the wounded area is swollen for a long time. In rare cases, respiratory and cardiac problems or nausea can occur.
Where you'll find them: Greece (toadfish), Caribbean, Malaysia, Seychelles, Maldives (lionfish, toadfish)