Scuba Diving: California Scorpionfish

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IMAGE CAPTION-A “California Scorpionfish” Becomes part of the reef. Location: Hamilton Cove, Catalina Island, California. Photo by column writer/underwater photographer Wade McDonald

This week we are going to take a look at a particular species of fish that I certainly would categorize as “Hazardous Marine Life.” As I have mentioned previously in past discussions, safety is fundamental at all times when we partake in activities on or under the water.

It is when we educate ourselves and learn to execute proper protocol that in turn we reduce any risk of injury that might occur. So are you ready? Lets get educated! The “Scorpaena guttatal;” (scientific name), commonly known as the “California scorpionfish,” can be found along the California coast from Santa Cruz all the way down south to Baja Sur California Mexico and out around Guadalupe Island.

Their spines are highly poisonous, containing a potent venom classified as” cardiotoxic.” Fishermen that have suffered the misfortune of getting pricked due to mishandling have reported the pain as well as symptoms to be similar to a rattlesnake bite.

This fish is a master of disguise, possessing the ability to change its appearance to match the environment it inhabits, It is no doubt an “ambush predator.” As a swimmer or diver, you must be aware of your surroundings at all times and be able to recognize potential hazards! It’s never a scorpionfish that decides to ruin a person’s day. Human error would surely be the usual culprit in nearly all aquatic marine life injuries.

Let’s take a look at our weather around the Island now, shall we … Today through Sunday expect plenty of sunshine with some cloud cover here and there with a temperature high of 75 degrees dipping down to a low of 56 over night. Sea temperatures are still on a gradual rise clocking in roughly between 64 to 66 degrees. Always remember to check current weather conditions when planning your activities around the water. Know your limitations and swim near a lifeguard when possible, When In Doubt Don’t Go Out!

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