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Phuket restaurant caught selling stonefish, known to be venomous

Restaurant busted with stonefish, photo by The Phuket Express.

Yet another Phuket restaurant has been caught selling a protected fish, this time a stonefish, which is known as the most venomous fish in the world.

Yesterday, officials from the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) Phuket Office received a tip-off that the restaurant, located in Rawai sub-district in Phuket’s main city district, was selling protected marine animals.

Officials seized a stonefish from the restaurant, and arrested the owner, The Phuket Express reported. He was brought to Phuket City Police Station for further legal steps. The DCMR withheld the name of the restaurant pending further legal action.

Stonefish are known as the most venomous fish in the world, and their venom is released when pressure is applied to their spines. The stonefish venom is excruciatingly painful and if left untreated could result in death.

Selling protected marine animals is a serious offence that can result in hefty fines and imprisonment. In Phuket, there have been several incidents of this crime.

The news of the Rawai restaurant comes just a week after two floating restaurants in Phuket were busted for possessing protected marine life. A DMCR inspection found that both restaurants had ornamental fish that are illegal to catch or possess.

One of the unnamed floating restaurants had 11 captured butterflyfish, lionfish, orange-lined triggerfish, and moray eels. The other venue was found in possession of four lionfish, dog-faced puffers, and Moorish idols. The owners of the two restaurants were not named, nor were the restaurants themselves, but they were taken to Karon Police Station for legal processing.

In November last year, three restaurant managers in Phuket were busted for selling parrotfish. The three restaurants inspected were Chic Restaurant, found with nine parrotfish, Bounty Seafood, found with five parrotfish, and Ton Tan Seafood found with two parrotfish. The three managers were taken to Karon Police Station and charged accordingly.

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