Distribution and Ecology of Ciguatera Fish Poisoning in Florida, with Emphasis on the Florida Keys
Abstract:Ciguatera fish poisoning is a disease causing human health problems for persons eating fishes from tropical seas or for extra-tropical residents who have eaten fishes imported from tropical seas. Of the estimated 1,300 cases of ciguatera in south Florida, probably 10% are from fishes caught in south Florida waters; the rest are purchased from restaurants or seafood markets in south Florida who sell fish species which are potentially ciguatoxic. Many fish species are misidentified by restaurateurs or are from non-Florida sources, especially the Bahamas. This paper documents the (a) species, (b) locations, and (c) size of fishes which have caused ciguatera intoxications in the Florida Keys, as well as other locations along the Florida east coast. Evidence is presented from other tropical areas that (1) increases in sea surface temperature from global warming, (2) eutrophication from human activities, and (3) anthropogenic alterations such as dredging, filling, and coral reef destruction may increase the incidence of ciguatera in the future in the Florida Keys and elsewhere.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: May 1, 1994
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