UPDATE 3:30 PM | THE potentially deadly stonefish that has held swimmers at bay on the Gold Coast for more than five weeks and forced council to take the unprecedented step of draining Evandale Lake has finally been caught.
Speaking exclusively to the Gold Coast’s number one radio station 1029 Hot Tomato and its digital arm mygc.com.au, Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate said, “we got him”.
“It is the ugliest fish I have ever seen,” the mayor laughed. “I’ve played rugby with a few ugly props but he would outdo them.”
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The mayor told Hot Tomato the highly venomous stonefish will be sent to James Cook University in Townsville where it will be milked for anti-venom research.
Cr Tate said other poisonous marine life or even another stonefish or two could still be in the lake so crews will keep looking as the last of the water is pumped out today.
Once emptied, the lake will undergo a major $120,000 refurbishment before being refilled.
Today’s development brings an end to “Operation Stonefish”, launched five weeks ago to catch the sea creature after a video emerged of the critter floating near the surface of the lake on July 18.
The popular swimming spot has been fenced off ever since, with multiple attempts to find the elusive fish using marine divers and nets failing, leaving council no choice but to drain the lake for the first time in 25 years.