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Phuket Governor says Japanese tourist bitten by barracuda not a shark

PHUKET: Phuket Governor Norraphat Plodtong has today said that a barracuda fish was responsible for biting a Japanese tourist while he was surfing at Kamala Beach yesterday and not a shark as stated by an expert from the Marine Endangered Species Unit at the Phuket Marine Biology Centre (PMBC).

accidents, health, marine, tourism,

Eakkapop Thongtub

Thursday 17 August 2017, 05:48PM

Phuket Governor Norraphat Plodtong. Photo: Eakkapop Thongtub
Phuket Governor Norraphat Plodtong. Photo: Eakkapop Thongtub

Gov Norraphat said today (Aug 17) that he had received information from Mr Thatsaphol Krajangdara from the Andaman Sea Fisheries Research and Development Centre (Phuket) that confirmed that it was a barracuda that had bitten 37-year-old Mr Keita Koshigoe.

“Mr Thatsaphol said that the Japanese man’s wounds are similar to those that would be caused by a barracuda. This kind of fish has a long body shape, their teeth are very sharp and they like to eat small fish on the water surface.

“He believed that the barracuda saw bubbles on the water surface where the man was surfing and thought they were caused by a small fish and attacked,” Gov Norraphat said.

“A village headman in Kamala confirmed that in the past ten years local residents, fishermen, boat operators and tourists had never seen sharks in this area. Most of the time fishermen catch barracuda as they are used to make fish balls, and they are often found around Phuket.

“So it is believable that the tourist was bitten by a barracuda not a shark,” Gov Norraphat noted.


“People can still go in the sea and do normal activities on Kamala Beach. Today we found that people are not panicked by yesterday’s incident. They are doing normal activities and swimming in the sea.

“Tour and dive operators have been informed to tell tourists not to swim far from the shore. Lifeguards are now paying extra attention for swimmers, and coastal patrol officers are checking along the beach,” Gov Norraphat added.

Dr Kongkiet Kittiwattanawong, Chief of the Marine Endangered Species Unit at the PMBC, said yesterday (Aug 16), “After checking the wounds we believe that it was a Blacktip Reef Shark.

“These sharks can be found near the coral reefs close to the shore in both the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea. These sharks are about one to two metres long at a mature age. They are not fierce. They like to eat small fish. The shark (probably) thought that the Japanese man was a bait, so it attacked,” Dr Kongkiet said. (See story here.)



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BenPendejo | 18 August 2017 - 14:50:08

Oh brother...more stellar non-professional commentary from Phuket officials. I love the "police-type" hypothesis Mr Thatsaphol came up with..."... the barracuda saw bubbles on the water surface where the man was surfing and thought they were caused by a small fish and attacked,”.  Yes, those small bubbles from fish exhaling???  It would probably be better to ask one of the farang-owned and operated diving schools to evaluate the injury, as I bet they are more familiar with what is out there than these "official experts" that never leave their offices and don't swim in the ocean.

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