Going to the beach this weekend? Beware of venomous Weever fish

Combination of Spring tide and bank holiday weekend will leave beaches totally exposed

The Weever fish is very small and does not swim far so it tends to remain in the sand just below the surface.  File photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

The Weever fish is very small and does not swim far so it tends to remain in the sand just below the surface. File photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

 

Irish Water Safety CEO John Leech is warning people to keep off beaches at low tide this weekend because of the danger of Weever fish.

He told RTE’s Morning Ireland that the Weever fish is very small and does not swim far so it tends to remain in the sand just below the surface.

The combination of Spring tide and the bank holiday weekend will put more people at risk as the beaches become totally exposed at low tide, he said.

“Try to keep off beaches one to two hours either side of low tide, when the tide is far out.”

“This is part of the beach that is exposed at low tide. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem. To avoid getting stung people should wear flip flops, crocs, sandals.

“If you get stung find a life guard. If there isn’t a life guard put the foot in water, about 40 degrees, to draw out the venom from the wound and increase the blood circulation.”

The sting could cause more problems for people with allergies and could lead to anaphylactic shock. In that case, people should take antihistamines or use a syringe to draw out the venom, he added.

“Weever fish like clean sand, not muddy, so they tend to be on the good beaches, all of which are life guarded. From Donegal to Kerry all around the coastline.”

Mr Leech said that Weever fish did cause a death in England in 1927 but in that case it was multiple stings.

“If there is one sting it shouldn’t be a problem. But we are taking this seriously so we are advising people to avoid the beach at low tide, for one to two hours either side of low water. Only swim when the water is well up.”