Nelson Bay fisherman captures a potentially-deadly blue-ring octupus in Little Beach

DEADLY: The blue-ring octopus caught at Little Beach before being released into the water away from swimmers.
DEADLY: The blue-ring octopus caught at Little Beach before being released into the water away from swimmers.

A deadly blue-ring octopus which has the potential to paralyze a person’s muscles within minutes of a bite was captured by a Port fisherman early on Wednesday morning.

Rhys Hocking, from Nelson Bay, caught the blue-ring octopus at Little Beach with a squid jig while fishing around 6am on February 6.

“I managed to release the octopus without harm and away from swimmers,” Hocking said. “There were about six to eight people swimming nearby at the time, so I alerted them and advised them to get out of the water.”

Hocking said it was, in fact, the second octopus he had seen in that same area of Little Beach in two weeks.

“I have been fishing this area for squid most of my life and had never seen them here before,” the 28-year-old cafe owner said. “I’m not sure if it’s due to the warmer water temperature, but it’s a warning for swimmers to be aware.”

Hocking said that the octopus would only display its potentially deadly blue rings if it felt threatened or becomes aggressive. “In the water this was only the size of a golf ball,” he said.

Blue-ring octopus, which can measure from 12-20cm across their stretched tentacles, inject venom from the mouth that paralyzes a person's muscles, including the muscles that let humans breathe.

According to a spokesperson for Great Barrier Reef, where these creatures are prevalent, if medical care is not provided immediately, respiratory failure may occur, which could lead to cardiac arrest. 

“If someone has been bitten, dial Triple 0 for medical assistance as it is critical help is sought immediately. Try to keep the bite victim calm and apply pressure to the wound with a firm bandage. If the patient is having trouble breathing, prolonged CPR will be required until medical attention is received.”

The spokesperson said that bleeding from the bite may occur, as well as nausea, vomiting, change in vision, numbness of the lips, tongue and mouth, and difficulty swallowing, seeing, and speaking.