Ciguatera Fish Poisoning

Globally, ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP) is the principal cause of
non-bacterial illness associated with seafood consumption. The toxins
(ciguatoxins) responsible for CFP are produced by dinoflagellates in the
genus *Gambierdiscus*, which are endemic to tropical and sub-tropical areas
and associated with shallow water marine ecosystems. Ciguatoxins are
lipophilic and bioaccumulate in marine food webs, typically reaching their
highest concentrations in large, carnivorous fish. While rarely fatal, CFP
can cause a multitude of gastrointestinal, neurological and cardiovascular
symptoms that can persist for days, months or years. CFP is consistently
under reported in many areas making it difficult to accurately analyze the
spatial and temporal variation in CFP occurrences. In general, CFP in the
Caribbean has been managed through traditional knowledge of local fishers
and residents. However, because *Gambierdiscus* abundance and water
temperatures are positively correlated, there is concern that increasing
seawater temperatures may increase the range of*Gambierdiscus* and
incidences of CFP. With this concern and the resurgence of interest in CFP
in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico prompted by the potential of commercial
harvests of invasive lionfish, it is imperative that we understand the
capabilities of new detection and monitoring techniques as well as the food
handling and liability issues.