Catching and eating fish is an exciting and big part of many Maltese people’s lives, but please be diligent in doing so because as harmless as some fish species appear, some can be very harmful for human consumption.
Last week, 82-year-old veteran and fisherman Mikiel Caruana spotted the Lagocephalus sceleratus in Ġnejna (also known as a silver-cheeked toadfish) and reported to the Alien Fish Database. Upon his encounter, Caruana immediately sought advice from his more experienced fisherman peers. Some told him to consume it, but following his gut, he decided to not cook the fish until he was convinced it was safe.
The local fish market announced its poisonous effects after the fish was described on a telephone call.
The pufferfish has been spotted three times in Maltese waters, and although making contact with the fish itself isn’t harmful, it is highly toxic, with consumption leading to body numbness, loss of sensation in limbs and in the most extreme cases, can be fatal.
As warned by Ocean Ambassador and marine biologist Alan Deidun, if you ever come across this fish please report it through the Spot the Alien Fish online database.
It’s been three years since the first sighting of a toadfish was officially recorded in Maltese waters. Back then, a much larger specimen was caught from the same beach, leading some people to wonder whether last week’s spotting means that there are more similar fish reproducing in the area.
Whatever the case may be, however, it’s best to alert authorities like Spot The Alien Fish should you encounter one of these toxic alien fish and remember that not every caught fish is necessarily safe to consume.