Aquarist bitten by thornback ray dismissed from job in Istanbul
İdris Emen – ISTANBULAn aquarist who was bitten by a thornback ray in an aquarium was dismissed from his job in a shopping mall in Istanbul.
Şener Avşar, 30, who graduated from the faculty of aquaculture started to work as an aquarist in January for a shopping mall that hosted huge aquariums.
Şener, who dove into the aquarium every day to clean them as part of daily maintenance, was bitten by a thornback ray when he was in the aquarium on June 4.
He was taken to the hospital and medics started antibiotic treatment. The treatment did not cure the wound and his bitten leg became numb. He was then taken under surgery but no progress was made.
Avşar went back to work 25 days after the incident even though his wound had not healed. However, his contract was canceled by the shopping mall’s management and he was dismissed.
Avşar said there was no work safety at the mall in which he worked.
“I have worked in different aquariums for five years, but there was no work safety at the last aquarium I worked at. Normally, an observer should monitor us while we are diving, but there was no observer there. Needles of thornback rays should be cut if they are living in an aquarium, but these thornback rays had needles,” he said.
Avşar also said his wound had not yet healed so he could not find another job because he cannot dive.
His lawyer, Salih Öz said they had filed a complaint to the shopping mall pressing them with charges for “reckless injury.”
Öz also said aquarists in Turkey work in poor conditions. One aquarist had died during a water evacuation in an aquarium.