AN operation to remove a deadly stone fish from a popular swimming hole on the Gold Coast has been called off after specialist drivers failed to find any trace of the sea creature.
Council launched “Operation Stonefish” on Wednesday after a member of the public filmed what was later confirmed to be a stone fish swimming in the popular Evandale Lake at Bundall.
The fish is one of the most venomous in the world, with a potentially lethal and extremely painful sting. The footage prompted Council to tape off Evandale Lake and call in the experts to search the swimming hole.
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Four Sea World divers arrived at the site on Thursday but despite spending more than two hours in the water and completing two sweeps of the lake, they were unable to locate the venomous stone fish.
Sources say it is possible the divers may have swum over the highly camouflaged fish which usually buries itself in the muddy floor, resembling a stone covered in algae.
When disturbed or threatened, the stonefish’s needle-like dorsal fin spines stick up and, when stepped on by a human, inject an amount of venom into the foot, proportional to the amount of pressure applied to it.
If ever it is found, Sea World says it plans to rehome the stone fish in the Nerang River where it exists naturally, while Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate says he wants it dead.
“We will get this critter,” the Mayor told reporters on Wednesday. “It’s dangerous and we will leave no stone unturned. We will kill him dead.”
It is not known when the lake, which has been closed since Tuesday afternoon, will be reopened.