Research Article

Injuries caused by garfish in Papua New Guinea.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1982; 284 doi: (Published 09 January 1982) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1982;284:77
  1. P G Barss


    Garfish, which are found in the Indo-Pacific Ocean areas, have a long, spear-like beak with two marrow jaws and small pointed teeth. They often make sudden leaps while swimming, particularly when attracted by bright lights. In Papua New Guinea people often fish from canoes using a light at night, and serious injuries may be caused by a fish jumping and its beak piercing part of the body. The surface wound may appear deceptively small and innocent, but if the wound is on the chest or abdomen the beak may have penetrated sufficiently deeply to cause internal injuries, and death may result. Patients may have to be admitted to hospital for removal of the beak, which may remain embedded in a limb.