Tag Archives: Needlefish

Virgin Islands Marine Life: Needlefish

St. John Virgin Islands Marine Life: needlefish
Needlefish (Tylosurus crocodilus)

Some years ago my friend, John Campbell, the father of Jasmine Campbell who represented the Virgin Islands in the Sochi Olympics, was water skiing in Rendezvous Bay. At precisely the wrong time, a needlefish jumped out of the water, its sharp beak colliding with John’s knee and penetrating deep into the joint. This led John on a quick trip to the clinic and a successful removal of the bony beak.

The needlefish, which range in length from one to 37 inches, can jump out of the water at speeds of up to 37 mph. making them a danger to humans that like my friend John happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. There have, in fact, been several recorded instances of needlefish causing deaths and injuries, especially during the night when the lights from boats excite the needlefish causing them to leap out of the water in the direction of the light. Night fishermen and divers in the Pacific find needlefish to be more of a danger than sharks.

A three-foot long needlefish killed a10-year-old Hawaiian boy who was night fishing with his father, the fish’s beak passing through the boy’s eye into his brain. A surfer in Hawaii suffered the same fate. A Vietnamese boy diving for sea cucumbers in 2007 was killed when the beak of a needlefish penetrated his heart. A snorkeler in Florida was nearly killed in the same manner and in 2012 a needlefish seriously injured the German kite surfer Wolfram Reiners in the Seychelles.

Needlefish swim close to the surface and survive on a diet of smaller fish. In the Virgin Islands, needlefish are often referred to as garfish, but, although somewhat similar in appearance, they are not related to that species.

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St. John Weather

Isolated showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 77. East wind around 16 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

HIGH SURF ADVISORY

SEVEN FOOT SWELLS AT 12 SECONDS AT SAN JUAN BUOY 41053 WILL PRODUCE BREAKING WAVES OF 9 TO 12 FEET ALONG ALL COASTS OF PUERTO RICO…CULEBRA…VIEQUES AND ST THOMAS, ST. JOHN AND ADJACENT ISLANDS. SWELLS EXPECTED TO SUBSIDE QUICKLY EARLY THIS EVENING.

A HIGH SURF ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 4 PM AST THIS AFTERNOON.  WAVES AND SURF: BREAKING WAVES OF 9 TO 12 FEET FROM THE NORTH NORTHWEST.

TIMING: THROUGH 4 PM AST TODAY.

IMPACTS: LIMITED COASTAL EROSION AND DANGEROUS CONDITIONS   AROUND ROCKS AND REEFS.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…  A HIGH SURF ADVISORY MEANS THAT HIGH SURF WILL AFFECT BEACHES IN THE ADVISORY AREA…PRODUCING RIP CURRENTS AND LOCALIZED BEACH EROSION. HIGH SURF IS ESPECIALLY HAZARDOUS AT NIGHT. RESIDENTS AND VISITORS ARE URGED TO KEEP A SAFE DISTANCE FROM THE WATER.

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