OUCH: A stonefish lies in camouflage.
OUCH: A stonefish lies in camouflage. Ian Banks

Avoiding sting of hidden stonefish

TAKING the disguise of rock, the stonefish is the most venomous of all fish species.

They are found in the northern half of Australia in shallow, coastal waters where they usually lie motionless and extremely well-camouflaged, often indistinguishable from their surrounds.

Queensland Surf Life Saving's Craig Holden said it was a good idea for people to be mindful of sea creatures, no matter if you were swimming or fishing.

He said the stonefish was common in rocky areas and there were no particular times of years to be wary.

"The more people that are swimming in the ocean, the more stings are around,” he said.

"It's not actually the spike of the stonefish that hurts but the venom the fish injects.”

Earlier this year there were some stings reported on the Gold Coast, including a 12-year-old girl who was taken to hospital.

Mr Holden said the treatment was to pour hot water, as hot as tolerated, over the area.

To avoid stings, it is recommended wearing thick-soled shoes and shuffling your feet when walking in the shallows, and not picking up rocks on reefs.