Fish bites in Mallorca this summer. | Majorca Daily Bulletin reporter


Last month the Bulletin reported that specialists in marine life expressed surprise at hearing about cases of fish biting people in Mallorca’s sea. At the time, they declined to comment further as they didn’t have enough information to offer an opinion.

The cases were concentrated in the Es Trenc area in the south of the island.
Montse Terradas said that she has been bitten on two occasions.
It has happened to her sister as well. “We noticed some fish were brushing against us, and then one bit me.”

They were small wounds, but they required attention from lifeguards. One lifeguard reports having dealt with fifteen cases in one day.
Another bather said that a lifeguard reckoned that the fish must feel that their habitat is being invaded.

However, twenty years ago the Bulletin reported that an increasing number of bathers at beaches along the eastern coast of the island were complaining that they had been bitten or stung by a fish.
From the end of July 2003, but above all during the month of August, some beaches and coves along the east coast was an increase in unfamiliar species of fish in the shallower waters, stinging and biting bathers.

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The principal theories about the appearance of these fish pointed to heat waves and the effect that they were having on the Mediterranean waters.
A simple sting would not have raised the voice of alarm from dozens of people who were swimming in the affected areas, were it not for the fact that the biting and stinging was resulting, in some cases, in open wounds.
And now, the alarm has spread to the mainland.

Britons are being warned to be careful if they fly out to Spain. Fish which can be as 30cm long have started attacking people off beaches in popular resorts, leaving swimmers with bleeding bite wounds.

According to The Mirror, holidaymakers have been reporting attacks from “piranha-style” fish which have left swimmers bloodied and covered in teeth marks. More than 15 people a day are being attacked after swimming at Alicante’s beaches with tourists seeking first aid treatment after being bitten by the “obladas”.

The “obladas” are usually peaceful, also known as saddled seabream, they are a type of fish commonly caught and eaten.
But scientists have warned that the changing climate could be the cause of this new behaviour. The fish, which can reach a size of up to 30cm, is omnivorous and usually prefers eating small invertebrates like prawns but scientists have said rising temperatures could be behind their newfound taste for tourists.

One possible cause, experts say, could be down to the unusually high water temperatures. The temperature of the sea is much higher than normal and the metabolism of the fish has increased. They are therefore seeking more food. The Climatology Laboratory of the University of Alicante says the sea temperature is between 29 and 30 degrees.