If you had been walking on the high tide line of the beach a month or two ago you would have been alarmed to see dozens of dead tobies or “blaasops”. The one in the picture was one of the more unusual ones. I have yet to find a name for it other than that they all fall into the family Tetraodontidae or puffer fish. They are poisonous to one degree or another so care should be taken handling them, or even more so if you are into Japanese roulette and choose to eat fugu. Fugu chefs train for years and are licensed to prepare these fish correctly so they don’t kill off their customers. Even so on average six people die each year and dozens are hospitalised!
But back to our fish … try as I might I couldn’t find a factual reason for so many fish to have washed up dead on our shores. One man picked up 70 in a short space of time. The general consensus is that a sudden change in water temperature caused them to blow up by swallowing water or even air in some cases. As they are not strong swimmers and swim near the surface, they were then blown ashore by a consistent easterly wind over a few days. If anyone can shed some light on this mystery we would love to hear from you!