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Eels, small stingrays attacked Mumbai's Ganesh devotees

The people, who had entered the sea to immerse idols on Ganesh Chaturthi, were stung and bitten on their feet, leading to painful injuries.

mumbai Updated: Sep 12, 2013 16:10 IST
Nikhil M Ghanekar
Nikhil M Ghanekar
Hindustan Times

Eels and juvenile stingrays stung devotees at Girgaum Chowpatty on Tuesday, scientists from Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) have revealed.

A team of scientists from CMFRI visited Girgaum beach early on Wednesday to investigate the ‘fish bite’ incident, which sent more than 70 people to hospitals.

The people, who had entered the sea to immerse idols, were stung and bitten on their feet, leading to painful injuries.

The scientists collected samples of stingrays, eels and small box jelly fish.

According to them, the tail or sting of small stingrays pierces sharply while eels bite when stepped upon.

Marine biology experts say the increase in sea surface temperatures and other ecological imbalances have forced marine organisms to come closer to the shore, resulting in incidents like bites.

“A sudden temperature change forces fish to move to a cooler place. Several juvenile eels nestle near the rocky areas of Girgaum beach to avoid being hunted.

They are driven close to the shore in search of food,” said Vinay Deshmukh, principal scientist, CMFRI.

"The fast depletion of jellyfish predators such as turtles is the reason behind their increasing population. The jellyfish found at Girgaum leaves a painful sting.

Their presence on Mumbai’s coast necessitates monitoring of coastal waters throughout the year," said GB Purshotamma, scientist, CMFRI.

Meanwhile the civic body has warned citizens from entering the sea.

“We appeal to the citizens that they wear gumboots if they have to enter into the sea. We have arranged for additional boats at Girgaum Chowpatty and medical camp on the beach for immediate treatment,” said Kishore Kshirsagar, deputy municipal commissioner, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.

First Published: Sep 12, 2013 09:56 IST