There are fish that will fight and some­times bite back

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS -

Iwas fish­ing for trout in a small lake but all I was catch­ing were bull­heads, small fresh­wa­ter cat­fish. Af­ter re­leas­ing five or six of the small brown fish I be­came care­less and grabbed one around the mid­dle. One of the spines on their fins stuck into my hand and left a small cut that stung for the rest of the af­ter­noon.

For­tu­nately, in Cape Bre­ton there are very few beasts, ex­cept for flies, which can sting, bite or poi­son us. There are a few fish, how­ever, which have the po­ten­tial to cause us some harm if han­dled im­prop­erly, ei­ther while liv­ing or when pre­pared as food. Some species of fish have an as­sort­ment of sharp spines in their fins which they use to de­fend them­selves from preda­tors. The brown bull­head is one ex­am­ple of a fresh­wa­ter fish whose spines can be locked in po­si­tion and can in­flict a nasty cut. The sea ocean perch or red fish have a sim­i­lar type of fin rays. Dog­fish not only have a spine in each of their two dor­sal fins but they also have poi­son pro­duc­ing tis­sue that can release poi­son into a wound. The poi­son can pro­duce sharp pain for up to an hour fol­lowed by swelling and ten­der­ness which can last for sev­eral days.

Some fish can also be poi­sonous af­ter death. Mack­erel and tuna be­long to the fam­ily of scom­bro­toxic fishes whose flesh can make you sick if eaten af­ter it has spoiled. The spoil­ing re­sults from bac­te­ria act­ing on the dark flesh of th­ese fish. The bac­te­ria pro­duce a chem­i­cal, his­tamine, which can cause headache and vom­it­ing. Mak­ing sure the fish you eat are cleaned prop­erly and kept cool will pre­vent this prob­lem.

Most of the sharks found off our coast have liv­ers which can make you sick if you eat them. Eat­ing liv­ers from th­ese fish may pro­duce mild gas­tro-in­testi­nal symp­toms so it is usu­ally sug­gested you avoid eat­ing the liver of sharks.

Some fish can make you sick if their blood comes in con­tact with your mouth, eyes or a cut in your skin. It has also been sug­gested that the blood of Amer­i­can eels may be poi­sonous if it en­ters the body through cuts in the skin, al­though no re­search has been con­ducted to con­firm this. This as­sump­tion is based on the fact that Euro­pean eels, which are closely re­lated to our eels, do in fact have poi­sonous blood. If blood from th­ese eels comes in con­tact with the eyes or mouth, swelling and red­ness may oc­cur.

Han­dled prop­erly fish won’t cause you any prob­lem and are de­li­cious, as well as nu­tri­tious, on the ta­ble so just be care­ful when fish­ing for the few that can fight back. Tight Lines. Tip of the week: Most wounds re­sult­ing from en­coun­ters with fish pro­duce mi­nor in­juries and the symp­toms will dis­ap­pear in a few days. If you hap­pen to get cut by a fish some prompt first aid, in­clud­ing wash­ing the wound in warm wa­ter will speed heal­ing and you will only be left with a good fish story.

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