Anyone have info regarding the restrictions on fishing/spear fishing and catching lobsters? i have also heard of Ciguatera and was wondering if that is a big concern. Any info would be great, thanks!
With lobsters, don't take the little ones or the females with egg sacks. You aren't supposed to spear them, but snares or hand catching is allowed. Don't catch them within the Buck Island park zone.
A lot of people spearfish to catch Permit and Snapper and that sort of thing. Keep your intake of reef-feeding fish to a minimum to avoid a build up of the Ciguatera parasite.
the toxin levels in lobsters are very low.......there have been few reported cases........... in my history in the Caribbean I have never seen or heard of a case............snapper is off season and carries a large fine for the next 4 or 5 months.......the locals do not take a shine to poaching lobsters .........I would not be seen dragging any out of the sea..........it is a lively hood for some...........
My husband, a health care provider on stX - treated quite a few cases of Ciguatera and a lot of of "food poisoning" due to inadequate refrigeration of the fish after capture. The CDC has an excellent info page on fish "toxins".
His advice is DO NOT eat the snapper etc (reef caught fish) and only eat the deep water fish from a reputable well refrigerated source - ie. no road side vendors. Cigueratura is Russian Roulette - you may recover in 4 weeks - or not at all.
Ciguatera is not the only worry, the Government's habit of dumping raw sewage into the waters around the Islands, means that the crustaceans, bivalves etc stand a fair chance of harboring some rather noxious "bugs"
When you've lived here long enough - or, even if not, if you're motivated - you do get to know from whom to buy.
The fishermen who sell out of their trucks either in Red Hook, Frenchtown, Smith Bay or elsewhere are hard-working people (primarily Frenchies) who know all about cigituera but who go out in still "safe" areas to get their catch of the day. They make their basic living from fishing, they're hard working folks who know all about the sealife here and would never in any way jeopordize a customer's health whether they be locals or visitors.
I've never heard of any local lobster problems per se but then I'm not a big fan of the Caribbean lobsters which although not UNtasty bear only a very faint resemblance to a Maine lobster and need to be really well-stuffed and seasoned to afford the meat any real flavour.
There are some local restaurants who buy fresh fish from local fishermen but the truth is always in the cooking and the price is going to be pretty high. And there are many who buy frozen and some of them pass it on via the menu as "fresh."
Technological advances these days have advanced to the stage where the island food providers are able to offer restaurants frozen fish which are basically immediately frozen as caught.
I have no problem telllng the very few people who ask if my regular Friday Fish and Chips is "local fish" and explaining that it's not, Stripping the skin of them mahi sides and then the fillettng is quite a chore. The disparity between the price of the fresh-caught local mahi and the fresh-caught immediately frozen mahi provided by the food suppliers via Taiwan is disparate to say the least.
jane: as much as your advice is understood and accepted, I think your post as written might raise a bit of a general scare. I absolutely understand that this is your opinion and of course cigituerua is something which certainly begs attention but - and only in my opinon - not a general scare, if you get my drift. Cheers!
One person's acceptable risk etc....however, my husband does have solid factual evidence to back up his stance - not heresay and anecdotal evidence. PS, there are no "safe" areas.
I am sure that the fisherfolk are hardworking etc. but my husband would like to point out that he has fished/dove with most of the local guys and EACH one of them had a different method to "test" for Cigueratura etc, and NONE of the tests were medically or scientifically valid. It is Russian Roulette.
Fish should be refrigerated from hook to stove.
I eat snapper, grouper, hind, mackerel, king fish, lobster, and other kinds of sea creatures which have been known to cause cig on a daily basis. I have caught these on north and south side reefs and their sizes have sometimes provoked warnings from frenchies and locals. I have only had one case of mild fish poisoning which was from a barracuda. This lasted about 6 hours and was not fun. In florida these can be eaten but I would not eat another here (they are actually very good and follow the same predatory/scavenger behavior as a snapper or grouper). I am knocking on wood right now... but I do believe a lot of fish poison cases that people claim to be cig, are from eating improperly prepared/refrigerated fish. I have seen many fish sold at the roadside vendors which have not been gutted and are laying out in the sun over little ice- no bueno. Cig is here and it is no joke, but I think it is exaggerated. Certain kinds and sizes of fish are def off limits and the bigger the species, the greater the danger as it builds up in the system. Just like its building up in my system so probably one day I'll get hit hard, but there are local bushes which work wonders for fish poison. There is also a test kit for cig (haven't seen it sold on island) and I've heard it works great.