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Old 03-12-2015, 08:59   #16
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Re: Ciguatera - foodborne illness - think twice before eating reef fish

I wish I could find the article I read that linked Ciguatera to agricultural run off. Seems more likely to produce more algae. In my old salt water reef aquarium, one little dose of extra phosphate would trigger algae blooms.

My biggest fear with global warming is that we ignore many of the things we may actually be able to control. The planet has heated and cooled for many years without any help from us, but adding extra fertilizer to the water system - that is all on us.

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Old 03-12-2015, 09:02   #17
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Re: Ciguatera - foodborne illness - think twice before eating reef fish

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Grouper is a top reef predator. It is just as likely, if not more so, to accumulate ciguatera. Most of the cig poisonings I have witnessed are due to the consumption of grouper.
Grouper are territorial. If they live in a part of the reef that does not have the cig toxin, they don't accumulate it in their tissues no matter how long they live there.

Barracuda, while not pelagic, are vastly more mobile than grouper and will travel from reef to reef as needed. The more reefs they visit, the more likely they are to be accumulating ciguatera.

I agree with you about idiots who walk into a fried fish emporium in south Florida and expect fresh grouper to be on the menu, and expect it to be grouper. They're about as dense as the New Englanders who think there is a species called a Scrod.

I don't eat grouper. I go with the pelagics like tuna or dolphin. And only the ones I caught. That day.

There is no "fresh fish" in most restaurants, and none in grocery stores. Even those who say they go down to the boats and buy it are getting fish that's been dead for a big part of the boats voyage.
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Old 03-12-2015, 09:26   #18
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Re: Ciguatera - foodborne illness - think twice before eating reef fish

I personally can't wait for Global Warming......would prefer Palm Trees on Long Island Sound. I hate cold weather!
Anyway grew up eating Barracuda, never got sick....just stuck to the small ones. It is one of the best fish you will ever eat.
Not absolute but better chance of not getting poisoned.
There is NO WAY to know if a fish is contaminated or not.
There have even been cases of several people eating the same fish with some getting sick others did not. Probably has something to do with where it is deposited within the fish itself of maybe there is some sort of immune complex phenomena within the affected individual to explain the different level of severities experienced ?
Just curious how will Global Warming affect cases of Salmonella, Norovirus, Shigella, Bacillus cereus, E Coli, Typhoid, Cholera etc etc ?
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Old 03-12-2015, 09:44   #19
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Re: Ciguatera - foodborne illness - think twice before eating reef fish

Any serious input on this issue would be appreciated. I am planning an extended stay in the Caribbean next winter, and dive fishing was a planned food item. Should I just stay away from all fishing there?
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Old 03-12-2015, 09:48   #20
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Re: Ciguatera - foodborne illness - think twice before eating reef fish

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THE BAHAMIAN LOCALS HAVE A TEST FOR CIGUATERA IN FISH THAT THEY HAVE BEEN USING FOR GENERATIONS!!!

HERE'S THE TEST: When you're cleaning the fish, IF NO FLYS WILL LAND ON IT - DON'T EAT IT!!!
While there [I]might[I] be an inkling of substance to such a test, I have just the opposite inclination, when I see that flys have landed on food, I am very much disinclined to eat the food. Why would I be so disinclined?

Because house flies are recognized as carriers of easily communicable diseases. Flies collect pathogens on their legs and mouths when females lay eggs on decomposing organic matter such as feces, garbage and animal corpses.

House flies carry diseases on their legs and the small hairs that cover their bodies. It takes only a matter of seconds for them to transfer these pathogens to food or touched surfaces. Mature house flies also use saliva to liquefy solid food before feeding on it. During this process, they transfer the pathogens first collected by landing on offal.

Diseases carried by house flies include typhoid, cholera and dysentery. Other diseases carried by house flies include salmonella, anthrax and tuberculosis. House flies have also been known to transmit the eggs of parasitic worms.

Okay, a bit of a wander from my initial posting as diverting from the subject of Ciguerta but still on point as to hazards associated with the warming of ocean waters, this involving domic acid:

I live in Montana, not far from Glacier National Park [presently 20 degrees Farenheit with light snow fall] and this summer a rancher's stock pond developed a toxic algae bloom and a significant number of cattle "mysteriously" died from drinking from it; so please realize that this issue of toxic algae is not just limited to the tropics, nor is it limited to warming, albeit warm water provides an environment that is more conducive to such algae blooming; I posted the news article for general knowledge, one has to be cognizant of what one eats and drinks and be vigilant as to mitigating the risks. Ciguatera is one of the risks, knowing the symptoms provides one with a clue as to diagnosis of what may be ailing you if you are unfortunate enough to have been exposed by consumption of such toxic foods.

Delay in Dungeness Crab Fishing Season Offers a Big Climate Lesson

Toxic algal bloom that’s poisoning sea life is linked to an incredibly persistent patch of warm water off the West Coast.

Published on Dec 2, 2015

Nov. 30, 2015 - The annual Dungeness crab season is already underway yet harbors all along the West Coast of North America are ghost towns during a time when they are expected to be chaotic with activity. “Normally on the season opener our parking lot looks like an entire city, with RVs and cars and people, and the harbor is absolutely bustling with activity,” says Tom Mattusch, a charter boat captain based in San Mateo County, California. “If I showed you a picture of the parking lot now, it’s just commercial equipment stacked up. They haven’t even loaded the boats yet."

The reason? Dungeness crab samples taken this year by officials at various locations along the coast contained domoic acid, a dangerous neurotoxin, prompting the indefinite postponement of the commercial crab seasons in California, Oregon, and Washington. California’s season was slated to begin November 15, while Oregon and Washington were originally expected to open their seasons December 1. Ingestion of domoic acid can cause loss of short-term memory, seizures, or even death, so health officials are not taking chances when it comes to this biotoxin.

The organism responsible for wreaking havoc on the crab industry is a large bloom of an algae species known as Pseudo-nitzschia, which produces the domoic acid. Linked to unusually warm ocean temperatures off the West Coast, this year’s bloom stretched from Alaska to California, making it the largest and most persistent occurrence of Pseudo-nitzschia ever recorded.

“The unique thing this year is the geographic extent and duration of the bloom,” research biologist Kathi Lefebvre explains. “Usually, we have more regional blooms that last up to a few weeks. This one is along the entire West Coast of the US, and it’s lasted longer than we’ve ever seen before.” Even though Lefebvre has studied harmful algal blooms for 17 years, most recently with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center, she was surprised by the magnitude of this year’s bloom.

The bloom came as an even greater shock to the commercial and private fishermen on the West Coast, where millions of dollars are at stake in the seafood industry. Mattusch, who also serves as president of San Mateo County’s harbor commission, has already lost over $20,000 from the delay. (The Dungeness crab industry on the West Coast usually brings in about $200 million a year.) Despite the financial loss, he tries to remain positive, pointing out, “the domoic acid does not kill crab, so if you think about it, we’re building the stock right now.” Though domoic acid does not appear to kill crabs, the toxin does have a dramatic impact on other sea life, especially sea lions, other marine mammals, and seabirds.

Crabs, clams, anchovies, and other fish accumulate domoic acid in their bodies without measurable harm when they feed during Pseudo-nitzschia blooms, but mammals like sea lions are poisoned when they eat the fish that has accumulated the toxin. Domoic acid is a neurotoxin and at high levels it makes marine mammals and birds lethargic and disoriented, and sometimes have seizures that may result in death. In tests performed on dead or dying wildlife found during this bloom, NOAA’s Wildlife Algal Toxin Research and Response Network (WARRN-West) has so far measured detectable levels of domoic acid in 36 marine mammals and three seabirds spanning the entire US west coast from Southern California to Northern Washington.

Some of these animals were observed having seizures. This is not unusual for California as many sea lions are poisoned by domoic acid each year in that region and this has been happening for the last 17 years. However, this is the first year that high levels of domoic acid and seizures have been documented in a marine mammal as far north as Washington. What this means is that the toxin is present in the marine food web in an unprecedented geographic extent. “We’ve never seen a seizing sea lion this far north until this year. It’s really scary thinking about marine mammal health,” Lefebvre says. “In terms of human health, we’re lucky, because we have great seafood monitoring systems in place. There’s a huge economic impact, but people are unlikely to get sick”.

Both for those concerned about the ecosystem and for those concerned about the crabbing industry, the critical issue is water temperature. Pseudo-nitzschia thrives in warm water, and large blooms are typically linked to unusually high ocean temperatures. “We really need an upwelling from the deep ocean water,” Mattusch says.

While fishermen hope for the return of cold water, scientists warn that the warm water years may become the new normal as climate change raises ocean temperatures throughout the world.

This year’s bloom in particular is linked to an incredibly persistent patch of warm water off the West Coast, referred to by scientists as “the blob.” Extending at least 1,000 miles from the coast of Mexico to waters off the Alaskan shore, the water in the blob measures about 2 degrees Celsius higher than historical temperatures. Attributed to a high pressure ridge off the West Coast, it is uncertain if the blob was caused by climate change, but scientists expect climate change to make events like the blob more common.

Researchers are currently looking for ways to better forecast future domoic acid events, especially as warming waters make them increasingly common. The Northwest Fisheries Science Center has instruments in the ocean to map harmful blooms and gather as much data as possible about them. NOAA, along with University of California, Santa Cruz, is trying to use the data to create a predictive “Harmful Algal Bloom” model. The forecaster uses circulation models, satellite data, and complex statistical models to predict Pseudo-nitzschia blooms within one to three days. As for any longer-term projections of domoic acid events, Lefebvre admits, “It’s a work in progress to figure out where, why, and how the blooms occur.”

While scientists cannot directly point to climate change as the cause of this bloom, they are confident that “changing the environment [through human-induced climate change] is absolutely going to disrupt the marine ecosystem in a big way,” Lefebvre says.

The domoic acid devastation unfolding along the Pacific Coast highlights the dangers of ignoring impacts of climate change until the problem hits the economy. Given that warm water years are becoming more frequent, the seafood industry may need to do more than hope for cold water to stay afloat.

Laura Moser is a freelance writer based in Sacramento, California. She is primarily interested in environmental issues, and her work in climate change includes co-authoring a Sacramento region transportation climate adaptation plan.

Earth Island Journal is a quarterly magazine combining investigative journalism and thought-provoking essays that make the subtle but profound connections between the environment and other contemporary issues. Earth Island Institute | Welcome
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Old 03-12-2015, 09:58   #21
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Re: Ciguatera - foodborne illness - think twice before eating reef fish

No victim of Ciguaterra will think lightly of this, the serious neurologic Sx can last for a long time and there are really are no well recognized treatment options. Anecdotal reports of resolution of acute SX and/or prevention of chronic neurologic Sx with IV manitol is a theurapeutic approach not available in remote locations nor medical personel aware of it. Just avoid consuming the large predatory reef fish greater than 5-6 lbs or even more conservatively, avoidance of fish in excess of 3 lbs.
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Old 03-12-2015, 10:24   #22
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Re: Ciguatera - foodborne illness - think twice before eating reef fish

There was a Cigua-Check test kit marketed for a while, but this study showed that feeding it to the cat was a better idea.
Quantitative Evaluation of Commercially Available Test Kit for Ciguatera in Fish

Still waiting for crab, but that is more of an El Nino effect than global warming.
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Old 03-12-2015, 10:28   #23
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Re: Ciguatera - foodborne illness - think twice before eating reef fish

Some of our local friends have told us they bring their catch in and give some to the neighbors. Then they wait until the next day to see if the neighbors are okay before cooking up their own portion. Similar to the neighbor's cat scenario, except there are damned few pet cats in this country.

Feral dogs, we got.

We've given at least a few hundred barracuda to local friends over the years. Typically the same friends. I've tasted it, and it tasted good to me. And I am very picky about what fish I eat. When we first started catching barracuda ( which is incredibly easy) and giving them away people would ask us first where we caught them. They don't want the cuda from the South Caicos area. But anything caught along the north side of these islands seem to be fine. The people who live here tell us that the damaged coral near South Caicos is the problem. There is very little damaged coral on the north side. We've been giving these fish away to friends here for 10 years. Nobody has gotten sick from them.
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Old 03-12-2015, 10:31   #24
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Re: Ciguatera - foodborne illness - think twice before eating reef fish

Actually any salt water fish can harbor the disease. There are even worse things out there. Ever been bit by a moray eel? If your hanging around reefs, there are all sorts of poisonous things that can kill you. Not something to fret about, but be aware of. Now about that puffer fish dinner.
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Old 03-12-2015, 10:34   #25
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Re: Ciguatera - foodborne illness - think twice before eating reef fish

Try the lionfish. Delicious.
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Old 03-12-2015, 10:45   #26
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Re: Ciguatera - foodborne illness - think twice before eating reef fish

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Try the lionfish. Delicious.
Oh bletch.
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Old 03-12-2015, 11:07   #27
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Re: Ciguatera - foodborne illness - think twice before eating reef fish

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I personally can't wait for Global Warming......would prefer Palm Trees on Long Island Sound. I hate cold weather!
I also enjoy educated discussions of topics like this, Many people need to learn how to learn. Global warming is not palm trees in NY, it's the average ocean temperature getting a couple degrees warmer in decades. You may think that something that minute can't have an effect but it does. It has and will have very measurable effects in weather and many other things, such as algae blooms. It's a fact the earth is getting warmer, it seems to be due to pollution of our air due to carbon emissions and many other effects caused by our population explosion. I personally think global warming is causing more typhoons in the eastern pacific and less hurricanes in the western Atlantic, at least affecting Florida and Mexico's NW coasts.

Basically it sure would be nice if people learn that most scientists just might be trying to help. Sure they make mistakes, just like everybody else, but at least they are trying. If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. Many of the worlds problems could be solved if people would just make an attempt to learn something instead of making a comment and letting everybody know they have no intent on furthering their education and wasting the time of everybody's that has to read the crap they post in order to get to what really is important. So read it, think about it, and choose to ignore if you want, maybe a quick post, "I don't agree", the flies landing on it comments are fine, because it just might be true, even if I don't think so. Even the "feed it to neighbors first," is good for some humor. But the YADA, YADA, YADA stuff and "here we go again", is totally uncalled for.
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Old 03-12-2015, 11:26   #28
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Re: Ciguatera - foodborne illness - think twice before eating reef fish

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I am afraid that it would be unwise to trust any such "old fisherman's tale". There are many similar told by many populations of locals around the world. Such as the Polynesians who believe that if rigor mortis doesn't set in in an obvious manner one must not eat etc.

However no such tales have ever been demonstrated to be true, and the locals seem to get sick nonetheless. One of the polynesians who swore by the rigor mortis idea spent 2.5 years paralysed in hospital and 1.5 years thereafter learning to walk again, despite his "knowledge", and didn't seem to see any conflict with that. I am afraid I did. Many of these ideas have been tested and proven to have no correlation with reality. I wouldn't trust these ideas at all. Simply do not eat reef fish in ciguatera affected areas. At all.
It is wise to be skeptical about myths and non scientific claims of cures and tests that are only anecdotal without proof.

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Old 03-12-2015, 12:02   #29
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Re: Ciguatera - foodborne illness - think twice before eating reef fish

hey jheld... sorry if my statement about palm trees offended you. It appears you took me literally.....maybe a smiley face at the end would have let you know it was just my dry humor and not ignorance.
By the way, just be aware that in the world of "scientist" some are influenced by those that control the grant money and the organizations they work for. Therefore unfortunately it is ripe with data manipulations and bias on part of the investigator. If you are truly academic in reading this stuff then it makes it quite difficult to come to conclusions.
But we are entering a discussing almost as controversial as religion so I really don't want to go there.
So the best advice I can give on this topic is again "Just eat the small ones"
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Old 03-12-2015, 12:06   #30
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Re: Ciguatera - foodborne illness - think twice before eating reef fish

What is wrong with palm trees on Long Island? Southern England has palm trees.
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