A fisherman stabbed by a stingray while hauling in nets at sea managed to cut the barb off while it was still embedded in his leg.
The 40-year-old Maketu local was fishing with a friend near Motunau (Plate) Island yesterday afternoon.
Maketu fire chief Shane Beech said the two men were pulling in nets when they hauled in the stingray, which punctured the man's thigh.
Mr Beech estimated the barb was embedded about 50mm in the man's leg, with about 50mm protruding.
"The barb had punctured itself quite well into his leg."
Mr Beech said the men were forced to cut the barb from the stingray while still at sea.
They then called 111 to arrange to meet help back at shore and headed in, where they met with Mr Beech and the fire brigade at the Kaituna Cut jetty.
Firefighters assisted the man until a St John ambulance arrived.
Mr Beech said the man did not appear to be in terrible pain, a common result of stingray wounds.
"He wasn't too bad actually. I think he was more worried about what would happen in regard to the toxin barbs can carry.
"He was conscious and talking to us for a while."
The man was taken to Tauranga Hospital.
His friend was left to clean up the boat.
A hospital spokesman said the man was in a "comfortable" condition yesterday. The man declined to talk to media.
Last Thursday 40-year-old Aucklander fisherman Peato Ilalio died after jumping into the sea to retrieve his fishing rod and tackle after a stingray pulled it into the water.
Mr Ilalio is presumed to have drowned after disappearing about 200m from shore while fishing from Kauri Point wharf, north of Katikati.