A 10-year-old boy has been hospitalised after being spiked by the dorsal fin of an elephant fish.

The youngster was fishing with his father at Amberley beach north of Christchurch when they caught the large fish.

When the boy picked it up, it thrashed in his hands and a 7cm dorsal fin spike penetrated his lower chest area.

The boy, from Greenpark, near Lincoln outside Christchurch, was driven to nearby Amberley Medical Centre where he received treatment before being transferred by Westpac Rescue helicopter to Christchurch Hospital at 6.30pm last night.


Paramedics took the precaution of taking him to hospital after fearing infection and internal damage.

He was treated and discharged from hospital last night.

Elephant fish, often sold in fish and chip shops, are most common in New Zealand waters off Banks Peninsula.

Growing up to 1.25 metres, and with distinctive hoe-shaped snouts, they are caught commercially in large numbers.