Stonefish are always in our waters, say lifesavers, and increased sightings may simply be due to more coastal activity.
Stonefish are always in our waters, say lifesavers, and increased sightings may simply be due to more coastal activity.

Stonefish being spotted as holiday-makers flock to region

LOCALS could be forgiven for thinking there had been a sudden influx of stonefish, with multiple sightings across the region.

But Surf Life Saving Queensland regional operations manager Craig Holden says the rocky looking fish are always in our waters and increased sightings could be due to an influx of beachgoers.

Holiday-makers and locals have been flocking to our beaches and with Covid-19 restricting borders, more people are making the most of Queensland.

Mr Holden said local caravan parks were full and the weekend had seen "huge crowds" on the beaches as the flags went back up for another season.

And while lifesavers have been kept busy, so far it's all been smooth sailing.

"The guys would rather be busy than sitting around twiddling their thumbs," he said.

As for stonefish in the region, Mr Holden says people are much less likely to spot encounter them on sandy beaches.

"They're always about," he said.

"Obviously, they're more common around rocky areas. If you're at a sandy beach you're much less likely to come across them.

"It's very uncommon to have to treat a stonefish sting at the beaches."

Mr Holden said it was usually people walking along rocky shores or fishing who would be stung.

He said hands and feet were the most common parts of the body to suffer stings either by stepping on the fish or accidentally handling one while fishing.

Locals have recently taken to social media to share photos of stonefish they've caught or spotted around the region, including at Theodolite Creek and Innes Park.

The NewsMail has reported on a number of stings in the region, including Travis Haupt who earlier this year told of how his stonefish sting was the worst pain he'd felt in his life.

It was the same month a man was taken to Bundaberg Hospital after an encounter.

The cases followed a story with a local fisherman in 2019 who took a photo with a monster stonefish he found at the Riverview Boat Ramp in Elliott Heads.

Mr Holden said if anyone suffered a sting the best treatment was to place the affected body part under the hottest water tolerable and call an ambulance or get to a hospital as soon as possible.


About stonefish

Stonefish are the most venomous of all fishes.

They will often lay motionless in the water, hidden under sand and nestled among coral, rocks or water plants.

Pain is severe and can last for days, some people experience muscle paralysis, breathing difficulties, shock and even heart failure and death.

Hospitals are able to treat stings with an antivenene, but good footwear should be worn in waters near rocky or weedy areas to prevent stings to the feet.