Gray triggerfish: Returning to French shores
Photo: Frank Schneider / imagebroker / IMAGO
Unpleasant encounters in the water: According to media reports, swimmers on the beaches of southern France often complain about bites from fish that are near the shore.
The bites in the legs, feet and toes probably came from 30 to 45 centimeters long gray triggerfish, which, due to the climate crisis and the warming of sea water, are increasingly venturing into shallow areas to search for food, reports the newspaper »Le Parisien«.
More than 40 bathers were bitten by fish on Monday alone on Hendaye beach near the Spanish border.
Also near Cannes on the Côte d'Azur, a swimmer was bitten in the water, which was only 50 centimeters deep. According to a report by the broadcaster BFMTV, there was another case in the Bay of Saint-Tropez.
28 instead of 21 degrees
The bites of the triggerfish are therefore harmless to humans.
As sea fish expert Benjamin Lafon told the newspaper, the heating of the seawater tempts the fish to expand their territory when searching for food.
The aggressive behavior towards humans could possibly be explained by the fact that the animals are in the reproductive phase.
Expert Samuel Somot from the National Meteorological Research Institute (CNRM) told the "Parisien" that the water on the French Mediterranean coast is currently up to 28 degrees warm instead of the usual 21 to 22 degrees.
This favors the return of the fish, which almost became extinct on the French coasts in the last century.