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Old 03-12-2015, 12:06   #31
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Re: Ciguatera - foodborne illness - think twice before eating reef fish

I have heard that when in doubt, rubb your finger along the fish outside , and rub it on your lips , ifit burns , and tingles , don't eat it !!
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Old 03-12-2015, 12:09   #32
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Re: Ciguatera - foodborne illness - think twice before eating reef fish

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I have heard that when in doubt, rubb your finger along the fish outside , and rub it on your lips , ifit burns , and tingles , don't eat it !!

No,no,no, that is for testing the girl you picked up in a bar before you bring her back to the boat.
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Old 03-12-2015, 12:29   #33
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Re: Ciguatera - foodborne illness - think twice before eating reef fish

There is one test I have heard of, but not tried. It is to remove the fish's liver, make a thin slice, and stick it (raw) between your cheek and gums. If, after a few minutes, your gums are feeling different (tingling, or numb), don't eat that fish.

The safest thing is to only eat pelagic fish you have caught, and only the smaller examples of the species. Return the 6-1/2 ft. long mahi mahi to the sea, keep the 3 footer. There's really no guarantee a hungry ocean fish wouldn't come in to a pass to feed on the reef fish.

Also, around New Caledonia, there is a type of fish that lives at great depths, and reportedly (a wildlife veterinarian told us this, confirmed by one marine biologist) does not eat the reef fish, and that species is safe to eat. We met a guy who fishes only for them.

To the poster who didn't believe in ciguatera, you may be interested that we read in the late 80's that at that time it was the leading cause of death for young people in French Polynesia.

Ann
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Old 03-12-2015, 13:24   #34
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Re: Ciguatera - foodborne illness - think twice before eating reef fish

Actually I have been led to believe that there are no fish left in the oceans LOL.
What species of fish got you in NewCal? Reef or pelagic ?
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Old 03-12-2015, 13:33   #35
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Re: Ciguatera - foodborne illness - think twice before eating reef fish

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Actually I have been led to believe that there are no fish left in the oceans LOL.
What species of fish got you in NewCal? Reef or pelagic ?
Oh bother!!
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Old 03-12-2015, 13:53   #36
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Re: Ciguatera - foodborne illness - think twice before eating reef fish

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Actually I have been led to believe that there are no fish left in the oceans LOL.
What species of fish got you in NewCal? Reef or pelagic ?
Since the ciguatoxin builds up in one's liver over time, we don't know how much of a "loading dose" we might have had before we became symptomatic. For instance, we'd shared a bonita with friends , also caught inside the lagoon.

The first time, it was a Spanish Mackerel, caught outside the lagoon. The 2nd time, a large Trevally, caught inside the lagoon in the north east part of Grand Terre. That time, we were using the ciguatera test kit, and it tested okay, but wasn't. The last time, we were in Belep. The last fish was a yearling Spanish Mackerel, about 3-1/2 ft long. We had been told they didn't have ciguatera because there isn't much up there. We took it in steak form into the village, and asked if it were safe to eat. The villagers said yes, it was safe, and accepted the gifts of the steaks we brought in. We had kept two back for ourselves, and, loving to eat fresh fish, WE DID IT TO OURSELVES AGAIN!

Note that, as far as we know, the locals were not affected. This is because it is true that there is less ciguatera up there, they supply the markets in Noumea. The problem is that out loading dose is high, and one's liver excretes the ciguatoxin only very slowly, if at all. Our loading dose is higher than theirs.

We are safe to eat pelagic fish, if we dare, and freshwater and coldwater fish, so, must be careful, but we do get to have some from time to time.

We were fortunate to not have the huge drop in blood pressure that some people get.

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Old 03-12-2015, 14:12   #37
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Re: Ciguatera - foodborne illness - think twice before eating reef fish

This is interesting. Not for one minute do I doubt the danger of ciguatera poisoning and it would seem I have been lucky as I lived in PNG for 10 years, had a yacht there, Nicholson 32, and caught and ate lots of fish. But I was aware of the dangers of baracuda and bass.
Later I sailed to Cairns and was spent an enormous amount of time on the reef between Cairns and Lizard Island. And elsewhere. Lots of fish but no problem. I have been lucky!
More recently I did catch a good sized spanish mackerel inside the reef at NewCal near Ilot Amedee on exiting for Australia. No problem thank goodness !
I do believe there are pockets, or hotspots, for this poisoning.
Safe here in Tasmania. Though these days harder to catch a fish.
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Old 03-12-2015, 14:12   #38
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Re: Ciguatera - foodborne illness - think twice before eating reef fish

Global warming has been a godsend, it is the only thing that has had the collateral damage of neutralizing the ice age that we should be in now, according to normal climate records.


And sea levels have been 300 yards lower than they are now, there are entire drowned villages and cave settlements down there, well known to archaelogists in numerous places.


So, as the climate change, for whatever reason it is changing, continues to change and the sea levels continue to rise faster than the reefs can grow, there will be fewer reefs, fewer reef-browsing fish, and logically LOSS CIGAUTERRA since there will be no toxins from reefs accumulating in fish that can't find ay reefs to eat.


Reefs, like beaches, are transient phenomena, and people who say "WE MUST SAVE THEM!" may have an aesthetic point, but they are destroying our natural and ever-changing climate and geography when they do so.


For most of our planet's history, the oceans flowed between North and South America. Well, that is, after Gaea split apart and those two young continents formed, before Central America got in the way and ruined ocean currents and weather flow.


And before the entrance to the Mediterranean was overrun by the rising sea levels, there was no Med Sea or interior coastline. All these incredibly permanent and important things...are just transient phenomena. Like the subtropical forests that were in what is now Antarctica.


Don't worry, be happy, there's not a damned thing you really can do to change what the planet is going about, anyway.
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Old 03-12-2015, 15:02   #39
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Re: Ciguatera - foodborne illness - think twice before eating reef fish

The dangers of ciguatera are often exaggerated. The effects of eating fish contaminated with ciguatoxins are unpleasant but rarely fatal. Ciguatera is usually seasonal (often during the wet season and after cyclones) and fish to avoid are well known by locals. I often work and sail in the Pacific and have no problems eating fish - species disconnected from reef food webs (such as tuna and other pelagic fish) are always safe to eat. PS - one of the main causes of ciguatera has the wonderful scientific name of Gambierdiscus toxicus!
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Old 03-12-2015, 15:12   #40
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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!!!
Posting in CapsLock (= yelling) doesn't make it true ...

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Any serious input on this issue would be appreciated.
There already are serious replies, and Ciguatera is real (global warming or not). Google is your friend, as are the locals once you're there.
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Old 03-12-2015, 15:35   #41
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Re: Ciguatera - foodborne illness - think twice before eating reef fish

Yes I too have succumbed to this fish poisoning after spending some time in Fiji, Noumea and Vanuatu. all the fish we ate where supposed to be okay as from the locals. my opinion, don't eat any reef fish taken from waters above 24 degrees Celsius, surface fish in small amounts only.
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Old 03-12-2015, 16:20   #42
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Re: Ciguatera - foodborne illness - think twice before eating reef fish

in Tropical Queensland I was always told to throw the bigger fish of a species back and keep the smaller (but still legal) fish for the dinner plate. The bigger (older) fish build up higher levels of the toxins. 47 years and still no hassles. Around here it is the pelagic fish that seem to be the main carriers of the toxins, eg Spanish Mackerel. This is a case where size does matter.
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Old 03-12-2015, 16:31   #43
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Re: Ciguatera - foodborne illness - think twice before eating reef fish

I believe the big fish, barracuda and maybe mackerel eat the smaller fish that contain the toxin from reef feeding and get the toxin that way.
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Old 03-12-2015, 16:38   #44
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Re: Ciguatera - foodborne illness - think twice before eating reef fish

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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.
Mannitol essentially functions to increase the flow rate of the urinary cycle (as an enhanced diuretic), so increasing the rate of elimination of ingested toxins by this route. By the same token, I have advised victims of ciguatoxin to hyper hydrate (within reason of course!) in order to have a similar effect, where mannitol is unavailable. Further, mannitol infusion by untrained personnel in hot climates may well result in kidney damage, for obvious reasons.

As to the avoidance of consumption of "large predatory fish" indeed this is the most sensible plan, but it is unfortunately not a safe insurance policy. The polynesian man (from Kauehi) I knew who was hospitalised and paralysed for years was paralysed by a small, ergo young, parrotfish he had consumed 2 days prior to the development of symptoms. ANY reef fish can cause ciguatoxicity, and predators accumulate it precisely because it is found in other reef species. It is unwise to eat any reef fish in affected areas.
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Old 03-12-2015, 16:41   #45
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Re: Ciguatera - foodborne illness - think twice before eating reef fish

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in Tropical Queensland I was always told to throw the bigger fish of a species back and keep the smaller (but still legal) fish for the dinner plate. The bigger (older) fish build up higher levels of the toxins. 47 years and still no hassles. Around here it is the pelagic fish that seem to be the main carriers of the toxins, eg Spanish Mackerel. This is a case where size does matter.
It is not always so straightforward, and your policy is no guarantee. Also as another poster has indicated there are strong suggestions in the epidemiology that there is an immunological adjunct to the poisoning episodes. I am personally acquainted with several people who have eaten reef fish from young childhood for decades before an episode, in some of those cases nearly fatal with extreme and lasting damage, and from fish that were small, not predatory, and they considered "safe". You may have got away with it for 47 years, but you may end up in hospital, paralysed, tomorrow.
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