Rare scorpion fish caught off Waterford

Unusual specimen to go on display in Dingle aquarium

Skipper of the Eblana trawler Peter Lynch holds a red scorpion fish, caught in deep water off the Waterford coast

Skipper of the Eblana trawler Peter Lynch holds a red scorpion fish, caught in deep water off the Waterford coast

 

Fishermen have trawled up an unusual catch in the sea off Co Waterford in the form of a red scorpionfish.

The bright coral-coloured creature, known for its needle-sharp dorsal spines, is more commonly found in the warmer waters of the Mediterranean.

It was caught in deep water near Dunmore East by the crew of the Eblana, a vessel which supplies ray and cod to Dublin chippers.

Skipper Peter Lynch and his brother Brendan noticed an unusual bright red fish amongst their catch last week.

Carefully avoiding its venemous spines, they transferred the exotic specimen to a holding tank on the boat before contacting the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA).

The fish is now en route to the Dingle Oceanworld Aquarium in Co Kerry where it will be put on display in the rare fish section.

SFPA inpsector Declan MacGabhann said the red scorpionfish is classified as extremely rare for Irish and British waters.

Only four previous redscorpion fish have been recorded in Irish waters - three in the Celtic Sea and one north of Dundalk Bay, he said.

“The seas around Ireland are getting warmer, and we are seeing an increased number of what we would classify as rare fish turning up in fishermen’s nets.”

While coming in contact with the fish’s poisonous spines is said to be extremely painful, it will not, in general, result in serious injury to humans.

Red scorpionfish hunt other fish and small crustaceans by camouflaging themselves into the surrounding coral or sea bed.

They belong to a family of fish which includes the more venemous lionfish variety, whose poison can be fatal to humans.

The lionfish has, in recent years, become something of a scourge in the Florida Everglades, migrating there in large numbers, primarily as a result of global warming and illegal aquarium releases.