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Old 22-08-2013, 09:48   #16
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Re: Ciguatera poisoning in the Caribbean

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Originally Posted by Blue Crab View Post
I've eaten small cudas without trouble in the upper Keys. The really tasty cudas are the ones with the long horizontal stripe.
Yeah, I like those ones too.
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Old 22-08-2013, 10:08   #17
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Re: Ciguatera poisoning in the Caribbean

In the caribe, reportedly barracuda can be bad (especially large). We stayed away from eating grouper that was too big, although ate a few big ones. Never heard of an actual case and the locals ate Barracuda.
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Old 22-08-2013, 11:18   #18
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Re: Ciguatera poisoning in the Caribbean

The Caribbean is a large and varied sea, so one cannot make generalizations about it.

Ciguatera is prevalent from the Bahamas through the Eastern Carib to approximately Martinique, where it is almost unheard of south of there.

The Western Carib is pretty much Ciguatera-free, although there have been a couple of isolated cases in Roatan and Belize over the years.

In between is hit and miss - Jamaica and the Caymans have reported cases, while the ABC's and Venezuela appear free of it.

We have been eating 30-50lb snappers and groupers, large jacks and barracuda in Panama with abandon for a couple of years now, but would never eat a barracuda of any size in the Eastern Carib.

In the Bahamas, only eat reef fish no longer than your forearm and you should be OK. Personally, I would not eat grouper of any size from the Berry Islands, but will from other places.

There are reported cases of ciguatera in lobsters, but they are rare and never stopped us. I don't know about crabs.

The ONLY test for ciguatera is a biochemical assay available as a test kit. These are expensive and not convenient.

NO OTHER method will test or destroy ciguatera, no matter how old the local is that tells you differently. I guess feeding it to your kid and waiting 24hrs will work as a test.

I need to say this again, because everyone always "hears of a good way" - there is NO method, other than a biochemical test or harming a child, to test for ciguatera before eating a fish.

This may be of interest: http://new.paho.org/carec/dmdocument...0Ciguatera.pdf
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Old 22-08-2013, 11:33   #19
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Re: Ciguatera poisoning in the Caribbean

We ate lobster till it was coming out of our ears in the Marquesas with no ill effects. Took many of them from the same bay that the local family was ciguaetera poisoned by some sort of reef fish. One reason to take a dog or cat along with you is to test for ciguatera. Feed them whatever fish you catch and observe for a few hours. If nothing happens, then the fish is probably safe to eat. Helps if you are not a member of PETA

Grew up in the midwest. Biggest fish I ever saw was a smallish bass and usually only ate blue gills. Had no experience with saltwater fish except for a few smallish albacore we caught on the down to the Marquesas. While arriving at one of the uninhabited islands in the Marquesas caught this 4' plus, long, skinny fish that we thought was an Ono/Wahoo. Had some as sashimi, cooked it up for breakfast, lunch and dinner for a day or two and dried the rest without any ill effects. Only later, talking with more experienced fishing people did we learn that Ono don't have teeth. Dodged a bullet with that Barracuda as they are almost always ciguatera carriers there.

There was some talk of a test being developed to detect ciguatera. Anyone heard anything about it???
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Old 22-08-2013, 12:24   #20
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Re: Ciguatera poisoning in the Caribbean

My brother taught university in Virgin Islands in the seventies. He would never eat any fish from local waters. Knew many people that got sick. Locals would only eat Barracuda if less than 2 ft. He did eat the spiny lobster without ill effect though.
Also back then the locals would dump the island trash in the harbor which would then attract the fish and sharks, which they would then in turn catch to eat. Another reason he never ate locally caught fish.
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Old 22-08-2013, 12:33   #21
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Re: Ciguatera poisoning in the Caribbean

There was a test kit at one time call Cigua-Check, but I believe the company went out of business and I am not aware of any other outside of a laboratory. The problem was the kits were not reliable. To my knowledge, there is no commercially available kit on the market.
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Old 22-08-2013, 12:41   #22
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Re: Ciguatera poisoning in the Caribbean

as far as feeding cats tainted fish--they will not eat tainted food. i know, as my cats would check my to go sushi plate when i lived north, and if i saw a wrinkled nose--i knew it was bad fish in some way.
would be better tested if fed to the dog--dogs will eat anything
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Old 22-08-2013, 12:53   #23
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Re: Ciguatera poisoning in the Caribbean

Here is an old report from the CDC about an exposure in the Bahamas.
Epidemiologic Notes and Reports Ciguatera Fish Poisoning -- Bahamas, Miami.
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Old 22-08-2013, 13:06   #24
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Re: Ciguatera Poisoning in the Caribbean

Only had the experience once. But that was enough! Oddly enough it was not a fish we caught but was the result of a meal ashore in Barreterre, Great Exuma. Eight of us had lunch, everyone except two of us had fish. All the fish eaters got it in varying degrees and for a few it took weeks before the symptoms finally subsided. Not a nice thing and easily avoided. Stick to mahi-mahi or other pelagic fish and small inshore fish.
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Old 22-08-2013, 17:59   #25
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pirate Re: Ciguatera Poisoning in the Caribbean

Thou shalt not eat grouper.

Anymore.

Some of the Commandments are easier to keep than this one.
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Old 23-08-2013, 11:39   #26
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Re: Ciguatera Poisoning in the Caribbean

G'Day all,

No experience in the Caribe, but Ann and I have had "le gratte" (as the French call Ciguaterra) three times... all in New Caledonia.

First time: big (~30 lb) Spanish Mackerel, caught slightly offshore south of Ille De Pins. We thought that having been caught "outside the reef" it would be safe. This was a pretty bad case... both ill for some while, some lingering symptoms.

Second time: very big Trevally (~45 lbs) caught off the NE corner of Grande Terre by Ille Balibio. Wouldn't have dared to eat this one, but we had the test kit. It was two weeks past it's expiry date and we were dumb enough to trust the results. Illness was shorter lived than #1 and less severe.

Third time: small (~5 lb) Spanish Mackerel, caught in the Belep group in the northern lagoon. This one was "guaranteed" by locals who happily accepted most of the fish as a gift. Again, less severe than either #1 or #2, but still quite unpleasant.

The interval between events was several years each time.

The disease is cumulative... that is, one accumulates the neurotoxin in one's liver, from where it is very slowly excreted. Some authorities say it is never excreted, but it seems that eventually the symptoms resolve and that suggests lowered levels... I'm not a doctor, just an experimental animal! At any rate, once you have input enough to trigger symptoms (which can be fatal) you seem to be forever susceptible to further outbreaks brought on by eating intoxicated fish, even those with low amounts of the toxin. We now are bloody careful about what we eat from tropical waters.

I am dubious about lobster/crayfish involvement. The food chain path from the coral-borne microorganism to the scavenge feeding lobster does not seem likely.

Our long and unhappy experience has lead us to not fish in near shore or lagoon waters in coral areas. We happily troll offshore and enjoy our occasional successes with tuna, dorado, wahoo and other pelagics.

A true pitfall in paradise and a royal PITA...

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 23-08-2013, 12:54   #27
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Re: Ciguatera Poisoning in the Caribbean

dave, this was a huge "the world is ending!" discovery back in the late 80's or early 90's. There was a lot of hype about how white KorecType would turn purple to test for it and a lot of fuss about this "new" danger. Seems to have fallen off the radar and fortunately many countries don't allow foreigners to come and fish, with lines or spears, so there's less of an issue these days.

But yes, fish can kill you. You have to ask locally to find out what is generally safe to eat. IIRC barracuda are especially likely to be a problem.

Nice porterhouse steak, bucket of fried chicken...these are much healthier things to eat.
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Old 23-08-2013, 13:41   #28
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Re: Ciguatera Poisoning in the Caribbean

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dave, this was a huge "the world is ending!" discovery back in the late 80's or early 90's. There was a lot of hype about how white KorecType would turn purple to test for it and a lot of fuss about this "new" danger. Seems to have fallen off the radar and fortunately many countries don't allow foreigners to come and fish, with lines or spears, so there's less of an issue these days.

But yes, fish can kill you. You have to ask locally to find out what is generally safe to eat. IIRC barracuda are especially likely to be a problem.

Nice porterhouse steak, bucket of fried chicken...these are much healthier things to eat.
yes. it is so eigthies Dave!

Current century hype as follows:

In 2007, ten people in St. Louis, Missouri developed the disease after eating imported fish.[25]

In February 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) traced several outbreaks to the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary in the northern Gulf of Mexico, near the Texas–Louisiana shoreline. The FDA advised seafood processors that ciguatera poisoning was "reasonably likely" to occur from eating several species of fish caught as far as 50 miles (80 km) from the sanctuary.[26]

From August 2010 to July 2011, there were six outbreaks of Ciguatera Fish Poisoning in New York City. Outbreaks were linked to barracuda and grouper purchased at a fish market in Queens, New York.[27]

In Q1 2012, two restaurants in Lanzarote are thought to have been the source of ciguatera poisoning, leading to new fishing regulations issued 18 April 2012. The first outbreak was reported after eating amberjack in February 2012. The diners suffered with vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain several hours later. The second case was in early April affecting six people who live in Lanzarote and had all eaten amberjack at a local restaurant.[28]

Taken from wikipedia site!
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