What kinds of dangerous fauna are we talking about?
Australia’s marine and estuarine environment is home to numerous types of harmful jellyfish, collectively known as marine stingers. A sting from any of these can be painful, but the sting of the irukandji or the box jellyfish can be lethal.
At least 32 species of sea snakes inhabit Australian waters.
A small dose of venom is highly toxic, resulting in muscle pain and stiffness, drooping eyelids, drowsiness and vomiting. If it is a serious bite it can cause total paralysis and death. Immediate medical assistance is critical.
Figure 1: Sea snakes can present a hazard when caught in fishing equipment.
Venomous, poisonous or spiny fish
A number of hazardous fish inhabit Australian coastal waters. The most dangerous include stonefish, stingrays, eel-tailed catfish, bullrout, scorpionfish and rabbitfish.
Blue-ringed octopi are very small and inhabit tide pools and shallow reefs, but fishers sometimes haul them up on deck with the catch.
Despite its small size, the bite of the blue-ringed octopus carries enough venom to kill 26 adult humans within minutes.
Crocodiles can be found in both saltwater and freshwater around the northern regions of Australia from the Kimberly region in Western Australia, across the north and down the coast of Queensland, south of Mackay.
A number of shark species are prevalent around Australia, including the white pointer, bull shark and tiger shark. Although shark attacks are rare, they can be fatal.
Figure 2: Bull sharks are often found in shallow, estuarine waters.
The New South Wales Poisons Information Centre provides some useful guidance on response strategies to bites and stings from dangerous marine fauna—refer to their website for further information.