Following multiple sightings and instances of direct contact with blue-ringed octopuses, residents in the City of Rockingham are encouraged to stay alert for this potentially dangerous marine animal.
The blue-ringed octopus is common in Rockingham waters and is one of the most venomous octopus in the world. Across the City there have been a number of sightings in recent months, with two people suffering bites at Point Peron and Garden Island. Blue-ringed octopuses have also been spotted frequently in cray pots and shells along City beaches.
City of Rockingham Mayor Barry Sammels said while it was fantastic to see people enjoying the City’s coastline, it was important to be aware of hazards when at the beach or out on the water.
“The City is home to 37km of spectacular coastline, however, we do have to share it with some potentially dangerous creatures,” Mayor Sammels said.
“The blue-ringed octopus is not aggressive, but will defend themselves if provoked or handled. Bites may be relatively painless and may even go unnoticed. If you do experience any symptoms of numbness, tingling, shortness of breath, weakness or nausea after visiting the beach it’s imperative you seek medical treatment immediately.”
Residents are reminded that collecting shells within the Shoalwater Island Marine Park is prohibited. The marine park is part of the section of coastline that runs from Point Peron, south to Becher Point in Port Kennedy (barring an exclusion zone around Long Point Boat Ramp).
“Not only do shells pose the risk of containing blue-ringed octopuses, they also act as a critical part of the ecosystem, providing habitat for many species,” Mayor Sammels said.
For more information on collecting shells outside of the Shoalwater Islands Marine Park residents are encouraged to contact Fisheries through the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.