[Coral-List] Lionfish and ciguatera

paul hoetjes phoetjes at gmail.com
Fri Jan 28 10:39:58 EST 2011

Hi Alina,

After my previous message I ran into this article in a newspaper in the
describing a three year study of ciguatera there. Although the study only
started in Dec. last year some surprising preliminary results  apparently
prompted the researchers to present them at the UVI. Due to the influx of
lionfish they decided to also include it in  the study to see if it carried
ciguatoxins and one of their preliminary findings was that out of seven
lionfish caught in the V.I. four were found to be toxic. Without details
about methods and levels compared to other fish in the same area, and
comparative work in other ciguatera areas, it isn't conclusive of course,
but it is disturbing news. There appears to be no end to the bad news about
this 'coral devil'.  Well, at least Bonaire and Curacao are still ciguatera
free areas so it's still safe to eat them here, though if the reefs continue
to deteriorate and a link of ciguatera to degraded reefs is confirmed, that
might not be true in the future. One really has to put an effort into grimly
remaining optimistic, but there is really no alternative for a
conservationist in our age.


On Fri, Jan 28, 2011 at 10:12 AM, Szmant, Alina <szmanta at uncw.edu> wrote:

> I very much doubt that lionfish have been tested for ciguatera in the
> Caribbean (they haven't been around long enough and they haven't been eaten
> by humans to any degree to induce the few scientists who have assays for
> ciguatoxin to test them).  Ciguatera is a bioaccumulation of a
> dinoflagellate derived toxin, and it doesn't occur everywhere.  Thus, I'd
> not assume that these fish are ciguatoxic.  I'd first search for evidence of
> ciguatoxic lionfish in the Indo-Pacific region.  If they don't bioacculumate
> it there, no reason to believe they will do it in the Caribbean.
> **********************************************
> Dr. Alina M. Szmant
> Professor of Marine Biology
> Coral Reef Research Program, Center for Marine Science
> University of North Carolina Wilmington
> 5600 Marvin K. Moss Lane
> Wilmington NC 28409
> Tel:  US +1  9109622362  Call ; fax: (910)962-2410;  cell:  US +1
>  9102003913  Call
> http://people.uncw.edu/szmanta
> **********************************************
> ________________________________________
> From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov [
> coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of paul hoetjes [
> phoetjes at gmail.com]
> Sent: Thursday, January 27, 2011 12:00 PM
> To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Lionfish on the menu
> HI Melissa,
> Do you know where you read this? I recall a recent discussion thread about
> lionfish and ciguatera, I don't remember if it was on this list or on the
> GCFI list, where nobody could provide any data or reports of ciguatera from
> lionfish, and in fact I believe it was assumed that they simply don't grow
> large enough for them to accumulate sufficient ciguatoxin to be of concern.
> Large groupers, snappers or barracuda's that are notorious for ciguatera in
> affected regions reach a much bigger body mass over a long period of time,
> allowing for a much larger build-up of toxin.
> Does anyone actually know what the lifespan of lionfish is? Do they keep
> growing as they get older, and what kills them in the end? Or are we indeed
> liable to see 1 m lionfish if they get old enough from lack of natural
> enemies in the Caribbean?
> Best,
> Paul
> On Thu, Jan 27, 2011 at 10:35 AM, MelissaE Keyes
> <melissae.keyes at yahoo.com>wrote:
> > Hello, Listers,
> >
> > Not to drag on forever this Lionfish discussion, but they are an apex
> > preditor,
> > and have the ability to carry the ciguatera poison.  I read recently that
> > of ten
> > fish tested, six were 'infested' with ciguatera.  So much for them being
> a
> > human
> > food source. :(
> >
> > "Cheers",
> >
> > Melissa
> >  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> > Melissa E. Keyes
> > St. Croix,
> > U.S.Virgin Islands
> > _______________________________________________
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> > http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list
> >
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