Cornwall, UK – A species of fish that can cause LSD-like hallucinations has been caught off the coast of southern England.
Cornish fisherman Andy Giles caught the Sarpa salpa while on a fishing trip off Polperro in Cornwall. The fish from the bream family is normally found in the Mediterranean and around the coasts of South Africa. Although popular in restaurants, eating the fish can result in ichthyoalleinotoxism – hallucinogenic fish poisoning.
In 2006 two men who ate the fish became daced and codfused, suffering ‘terrifying’ visual and auditory hallucinations, reported Practical Fishkeeping.
Although the fish is not normally hallucinogenic, eating the heads or body parts can sometimes cause effects similar to LSD. The effects can start within minutes of eating a poisonous fish and may last for days. There is no antidote.
The fish are believed to become affected by eating plankton and were widely used as a recreational drug in the Mediterranean area during the Roman Empire.