Fishing in Japan


Everyone knows the blowfish from finding nemo the animated movie. Now this fish seems to be

rampant in the waters of Japan. The beaching of a large number of dead poisonous porcupine fish on a

Taranaki beach is being blamed on commercial fishing trawlers. Around 50 of the fish, commonly known

as puffer fish or blowfish, were washed ashore between the Waiwhakaiho river mouth and Fitzroy

Beach these past days.The fish contain the extremely potent neurotoxin tetrodotoxin, which can cause

muscle paralysis and an inability to breathe if ingested. A fisherman has seen puffer fish floating on the

surface off Port Taranaki on other occasions and suspected they had been caught accidentally by

commercial fishermen trawling for gurnard. The fishermen are wondering why they washed up there

out of nowhere. Fifty is a lot of blowfish and can’t be just a coincidence. Someone had collected 25 of

the fish from the shore and disposed of them down an offal hole. He said there were likely a lot more

but the wind was whipping the sand over them. The Japanese people living near there were warned and

were told to keep their eyes peeled as to avoid danger and hazard. They say that they have seen similar

numbers of the fish wash up about three times in the last five to 10 years. People are still unsure what

caused them to wash up but said it was possible commercial fishermen accidentally caught them and

threw them back because they are toxic. They blow themselves up and would float ashore. Initial

symptoms following tetrodotoxin (TTX) poisoning can include numbness around the mouth, tingling,

pricking of the skin and nausea. In severe cases, paralysis rapidly advances with respiratory problems

first appearing as difficult or laboured breathing. Standing on the dead fish could result in a secondary

infection from the bacteria on the spines. This is all so insane and very alarming to the Japanese people

which I hope they resolve. They seem to be taking it very well and handling it very cautiously and

maturely. Puffer fish, or fugu, are a delicacy in Japan, with some restaurants charging more than $100

for a single dish. So there can be a good and bad side, they should just remove the toxins. I wonder what

they taste like though.