Amateur fisherman hospitalized after eating extremely poisonous fish

An amateur fisherman in Japan learned the hard way that he should probably be sticking to catch-and-release, after he cooked and ate a pretty fish he caught, and then had to be hospitalized because the fish was extremely poisonous.

According to Sora News 24, a 60-year-old man from Nagoya decided to take a nice break from city life and enjoy a spot of fishing last week. He went to the seaside and enjoyed the scenery and he even caught a nice-looking blue and yellow fish, which he took home to have for breakfast the next day.

The man ate his fish for breakfast, and then went about his day. He probably felt pretty good about himself for having successfully caught and cooked his own breakfast. Later, though, he started to feel extremely ill. By late afternoon he was in agonizing pain in all the muscles of his body.

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Doctors found palytoxin in his system, and because palytoxin is a potentially deadly toxin found in marine species, it did not take them long to figure out what had happened.

The fish the man ate for breakfast is a called a "hako fugu," and they can be very poisonous. The doctors were surprised that the man had eaten the fish, because as Sora News 24 points out, the "fugu" in hako fugu is the same as Japan’s famous poisonous blowfish. While several different fish have "fugu" in the name in Japanese, many of those, like the famed blowfish, are poisonous and can be deadly if not prepared by a licensed expert.

Doctors say the amateur fisherman says he knew the fish was a hako fugu, but the name does not appear to have scared him off. He just said he knew the name but didn’t know much about the fish, so he ate it.

The Nagoya government issued a reminder asking residents to please not eat any kind of poisonous fish, unless prepared by a chef licensed to serve it. In general, it is not a good idea to eat things one finds, if one does not know for sure that they are not full of dangerous toxins, like fugu.