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Ciguatera poisoning from mackerel caught on Gold Coast

Fisherman are being warned to throw back large mackerel weighing in excess of 6kg, and to avoid eating the head, fish roe and all internal organs as this toxin is concentrated.

Noel Brindley together with 3 others shared a large 12-15kg spanish macherel caught last week whilst fishing on the Gold Coast.  They suffered gastro-like symptons, fainting, extreme itching.

It is rare for poisoning from fish on the Gold Coast, Paul Burt thinks it is the third notable case he has heard of in about 15 years.

Sufferers are advised to avoid fish for the next six months andalcohol for three months as it can cause symptons to reoccur.

Ciguatera poisoning is a form of food poisoning. It is caused by eating warm water ocean fi nfi sh that carry ciguatera poison (a toxin). This poison is produced by a very tiny organism called a dinoflagellate, which attaches itself to algae growing in warm ocean water reef areas. Small plant-eating fish eat this toxic algae and in turn are eaten by larger predatory fish which are eaten by humans.

This is the same toxin that is believed to have killed Noelene Bischoff and her 14-year-old daughter Yvana in Bali recently.


Queensland Health Fact Sheet no. 2 for more about ciguatera poisoning


Source:  Gold Coast Bulletin 17/2/2014