CIGUATERA FISH POISONING
Ciguatera is a form of poisoning caused by the consumption of marine fish that have accumulated naturally occurring toxins through their diet. Many species of fish have ciguatoxons including snapper, grouper, barracuda and lionfish. The head, liver and roe of the fish concentrate greater amounts of toxin which can lead to more severe effects.
While ciguatera fish poisoning is not common in Belize, in 2017 there were three cases involving the usual culprit, barracuda. The following are the list of known instances of ciguatera fish poisoning in 2017.
Scientists report there is no way to easily test a sample for ciguatera, but local folklore suggest the following signs may indicate fish poisoning:
Symptoms of ciguatera fishing include:
To avoid fish poisoning it is wise to avoid consuming barracuda in July, Aug or September, but the only way to avoid ciguatera is to completely avoid consuming all reef fish.
Since 2009 lionfish have been consumed in Belize and there have been no reported cases of ciguatera fish poisoning after eating lionfish, but there have been at least 4 known cases of ciguatera after eating barracuda.