What is the risk of Ciguatera poisoning.

Ciguatera is a foodborne illness caused by eating certain reef fish whose flesh is contaminated with toxins originally produced by dinoflagellates such as Gambierdiscus toxicus which live in tropical and subtropical waters.

These dinoflagellates adhere to coral, algae and seaweed, where they are eaten by herbivorous fish who in turn are eaten by larger carnivorous fish. In this way the toxins move up the food chain and biomagnify.
Symptoms of ciguatera in humans include gastrointestinal and neurological effects. Gastrointestinal symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, usually followed by neurological symptoms such as headaches, muscle aches, paresthesia, numbness, vertigo, and hallucinations.Severe cases of ciguatera can also result in cold allodynia, which is the reversing of the sensation of hot and cold. Cold items may feel hot and hot items may feel cold. Neurological symptoms can persist and ciguatera poisoning is occasionally misdiagnosed as multiple sclerosis.

There is only 1 way to completely avoid Ciguatera, and that is to not eat tropical reef fish.

There are many reasons a reef can become Ciguatera active. This page is part 2 on Ciguatera, Part explains the reasons for a reef becoming sick and where the “safe reefs” in the British Virgin Islands are.

Fish caught to the south of the island chain have to be suspect. To the North is usually safe.
What does it all mean in conjunction with this fish list.

The 88 species of fish listed towards the bottom of this page are the most common catches in the Virgin Islands.

If you are fishing anywhere on the south side or within the channel please observe the risk status of each species.
If fishing on the north side of the islands then all fish except Jacks and Barracuda are often eaten without incident.
What would I do

Follow the guide regardless of where you are fishing.
I would never consider eating a fish that is listed as high risk from anywhere PERIOD.

I would never consider eating a fish that is listed as a FREQUENT poisoner from the south side or within the channel, however a smaller specimen from the north side would be dinner.
I would not eat a INFREQUENT poisoner from the south side, A smaller specimen from the channel or any size from the north side should be ok. When I say smaller I mean younger, A fish that grows to 3 feet is still young if 2 feet long. However a species that only grows to 8 inches should not be considered small even though he is only 8 inches.
A seldom poisoner from anywhere should be good, however if I caught a large specimen on the south side I probably would still not eat it.

Again look at the pictures carefully, for example the rock hind and the red hind look extremely similar however one is a seldom and the other is a frequent cig poisoner.

There are no guarantees, This fish rating however was compiled from many years of commercial catches.
Both I and H2O Trips give no guarantees and assume zero responsibility.

Many fish species look very similar, Look carefully, One fish type may be safe but its very close looking cousin may not.Look at the Dog snapper and the Gray snapper, They look very similar but they have very different risks.

If your just wanting to see the list of fish and their risk status just scroll down a bit to the list.

If you are interested in fishing in the Virgins or greater Caribbean we can and have put together charters specifically for fishing. Some have been whole boat trips, that is where you and your party make up the whole charter group. Others are where we put together several people who are unknown to each other and they go as a single group on a fishing charter, This is a great way for a couple of buddies to have an affordable fishing trip to an exotic destination to fish. Scuba divers have been doing this for years, visiting diverse exotic locations that would be out of their reach financially without the ability to have a larger group to share the cost’s. The way it works is that you contact us either by email,phone or the online chat below and talk to us. Tell us where in the world, what type of fishing your interested in and when you would like to go. We then reach out through our network and try to get enough people together to make it happen. We give you each others contact details and you chat with each other and see if your a match. If you are we then put the trip together, This may be as simple as arranging a single charter boat that spends the week cruising around the destination fishing from the charter vessel. It could be a sports fish vessel out looking for the big ones off the famous north drop or a charter yacht that mixes fishing from the yacht traveling around the islands with a day trip out to the drops on a game boat and another day on a flats boat out fly fishing for tarpon and bonefish. When  fishing from a regular “non” fishing boat we can often arrange a local guide for all or part of your trip. We can cater for as few as 2 fishermen to up to groups of 10. We can arrange trips to the Caribbean, Australia, South Pacific, Alaska or anywhere in between.

horse eye jack

These Horse Eye Jack are regularly caught of the back of the boat throughout the Virgins. Not uncommon to snag 5 or 6 in an evening. Great fighters on light gear and make fantastic shark live baits, However on the top of the list for Cig poisoners.

Fishing Charters.

Fishing license requirements in the Virgin Islands

Our page on bottom fishing in the Virgin Islands.

Our page on tarpon fishing in the Virgin Islands.

Trolling in the Virgin Islands.

Eating your fish in the Virgin Islands.

If you have any interest in either chartering a yacht and doing some fishing or going on a serious fishing charter then please use our experience to your advantage.

 

About us at H2o Trips.

I personally ran a 10 passenger charter yacht in the British Virgin Islands for 20 years and did over 600 charters. This coupled with the fact that I have personally stepped  aboard each of the several hundred yachts that I represent  and inspected the vessel as well as  quizzed the crews makes my help to you unconditionally qualified to be up to date, informed and unbiased. Many in our industry simply rely on information that they have gotten from either the internet or from our other “trade” sources. Many have ties to particular boats so will push them even if they do not match your requirements well.  I am here for the express purpose of finding the correct match for you and your family’s needs. What I tell or show you is what I have recently seen or personally photographed myself. I do not rely upon information and pictures from 5 year old brochures.  Our service is completely free to you and there is absolutely no obligations to book through us. Please let me help make your vacation the vacation of a lifetime.

Start planing your dream vacation now!

 

The fish list.

If you know the general fish type click to jump down the list. Otherwise scroll down for the pictures of each fish.

Sea Bass and Groupers.
Jacks.
Snappers.
Eels.
Grunts.
Porgies.
Goatfish.
Butterfly Fish.
Angelfish.
Parrot Fish.
Hogfish.
Filefish.
Cow and Trunkfish.

Barracuda Great Barracuda. are a HIGH RISK CIG poisoner.

spotted scorpion fish Spotted Scorpionfish. are a FREQUENT CIG Poisoner.

Queen Triggerfish.Queen Triggerfish are a FREQUENT CIG Poisoner.

Kingfish are a FREQUENT CIG Poisoner.

hound:needle fish Needlefish or Houndfish are an INFREQUENT CIG Poisoner.

squirrelfishSqirrelfish. are an INFREQUENT CIG poisoner.

Little TunnyLittle Tunny. are an INFREQUENT CIG poisoner.

Atlantic Bonito Atlantic Bonito. are an INFREQUENT CIG poisoners.

porcupine fishPorcupine Fish. are an INFREQUENT CIG Poisoners.

Balloonfish.Balloon Fish. are an INFREQUENT CIG poisoner.

southern-stingraySouthern Stingray are a SELDOM CIG poisoner.

Nurse-sharkNurse Shark are a SELDOM CIG poisoner.

Ocean Surgeon fishOcean Surgeon Fish. are a SELDOM CIG poisone.

doctorfishDoctor Fish. are a SELDOM CIG poisoner.

blue tangBlue Tang are a SELDOM CIG poisoner.

flounderFlounder are a SELDOM CIG poisoner.

Atlantic spade fishAtlantic Spade Fish are a SELDOM CIG poisoners.

Sergeant Major fishSeargent Major. are a SELDOM CIG poisoner.

Spotted Drum fishSpotted Drum. are a SELDOM CIG poisoner.

jacknife fishJacknife Fish. are a SELDOM CIG poisoner.


SEA BASS AND GROUPERS.
Rockhind fishRockhind Fish are a FREQUENT CIG poisoner.

Mutton HamletMutton Hamlet are a SELDOM CIG poisoner.

Graysby fishGraysby Fish. are an INFREQUENT CIG poisoner.

Coney Fish.Coney Fish. are a SELDOM CIG poisoner.

Red Hind Fish.Red Hind Fish. are an INFREQUENT CIG poisoner.

red grouperRed Grouper are a FREQUENT CIG poisoner.

nassau grouperNassau Grouper are a SELDOM CIG poisoner.

Yellowfin GrouperYellowfin Grouper are a FREQUENT CIG poisoner.

butterhamletButter (Black) Hamlet Fish. are a SELDOM CIG poisoner.


JACKS
Greater amberjackGreater Amberjack. are a HIGH RISK CIG poisoner.

horse eye jackHorse Eye Jack. are a HIGH RISK CIG poisoner.

barjack fish.Bar Jack are a HIGH RISK CIG poisoner.

blackjack fishBlack Jack are a HIGH RISK CIG poisoner.

< blue runner fish.Blue Runner Fish are an INFREQUENT CIG poisoner.


SNAPPERS.
Blackfin snapperBlackfin Snapper are a FREQUENT CIG poisoner.

black snapperBlack Snapper. are an INFREQUENT CIG poisoner.

mutton snapperMutton Snapper. are a SELDOM CIG poisoner.

Schoolmaster SnapperSchoolmaster snapper. are a FREQUENT CIG poisoner.

red snapperRed Snapper. are an INFREQUENT CIG poisoner.

graysnapperGray Snapper. are an INFREQUENT CIG poisoner.

dogsnapperDogsnapper. are a HIGH RISK CIG poisoner.

mahogany snapperMahogany Snapper. are a FREQUENT CIG poisoner.

Lane Snapper.Lane Snapper. are a SELDOM CIG poisoner.

Yellowtail Snapper.Yellowtail Snapper are a SELDOM CIG poisoner.

Wenchman Snapper.Wenchman Snapper. are a SELDOM CIG poisoner.


EELS.
green moray eelGreen Moray Eel. are a FREQUENT CIG poisoner.

spotted eelSpotted eel. are a FREQUENT CIG poisoner.


GRUNTS.
black margate fishBlack Margate are an INFREQUENT CIG poisoner.

Pork fish.Porkfish. are an INFREQUENT CIG poisoner.

Margate Fish.Margate. are an INFREQUENT CIG poisoner.

Tomtate Fish.Tomtate. are an INFREQUENT CIG poisoner.

Black Grunt.Black Grunt. are an INFREQUENT CIG poisoner.

French Grunt.French Grunt. are an INFREQUENT CIG poisoner.

Cottonwick Grunt.Cottonwick Grunt. are an INFREQUENT CIG poisoner.

White grunt.White Grunt. are an INFREQUENT CIG poisoner.

Blue Stripped Grunt.Blue Striped Grunt. are an INFREQUENT CIG poisoner.


PORGIES.
Saucer Eyed Porgy.Saucer Eyed Porgy. are an INFREQUENT CIG poisoner.

Sheepshead porgy.Sheepshead Porgy. are a SELDOM CIG poisoner.

Pluma Porgy.Pluma Porgy. are a SELDOM CIG poisoner.


GOATFISH.
Yellowtail Goatfish.Yellowtail Goatfish. are a SELDOM CIG poisoner.

Spotted Goatfish.Spotted goatfish. are a SELDOM CIG poisoner.


BUTTERFLY FISH.
Four eye butterfly fish.Four Eye Butterfly Fish. are a SELDOM CIG poisoner.

Reef Butterfly Fish.Reef Butterfly Fish. are a SELDOM CIG poisoner.

Banded butterfly fish.Banded Butterfly Fish. are a SELDOM CIG poisoner.


ANGELFISH.
Queen Angel Fish.Queen Angel Fish. are a SELDOM CIG poisoner.

Blue angel Fish. Blue Angel Fish. are a SELDOM CIG poisoner.

Gray Angelfish.Gray Angelfish. are a SELDOM CIG poisoner.

French Angelfish.French Angelfish. are a SELDOM CIG poisoner.

Rockbeauty Angelfish.Rockbeauty Angelfish. are a SELDOM CIG poisoner.


PARROT FISH.
Blue Parrotfish.Blue Parrotfish. are a SELDOM CIG poisoner.

Striped parrotfish.Striped Parrotfish. are a SELDOM CIG poisoner.

Princess parrotfish. Princess Parrotfish. are a SELDOM CIG poisoner.

Queen Parrotfish.Queen Parrotfish. are a SELDOM CIG poisoner.

Redband parrotfish. Redband Parrotfish. are a SELDOM CIG poisoner.

Redtail Parrotfish.Red Tailed Parrotfish are a SELDOM CIG poisoner.

Redfined Parrotfish.Redfined Parrotfish. are a SELDOM CIG poisoner.

Bucktooth Parrotfish.Bucktooth Parrotfish are a SELDOM CIG poisoner.

Stoplight Parrotfish.Stoplight Parrotfish. are a SELDOM CIG poisoner.


HOGFISH.
Spanish Hogfish.Spanish Hogfish. are a FREQUENT CIG poisoner.

Hogfish.Hogfish. are an INFREQUENT CIG poisoner.

pudding wife.< Pudding Wife. are a SELDOM CIG poisoner.


FILEFISH.
Scrawled Filefish.Scrawled Filefish. are a SELDOM CIG poisoner.

Orange Spotted Filefish.Orange Spotted Filefish. are a SELDOM CIG poisoner.

Fringed Filefish.Fringed Filefish. are a SELDOM CIG poisoner.


COW AND TRUNK FISH.
Spotted Trunkfish.Spotted Trunkfish are an INFREQUENT CIG poisoner.

Smooth Trunkfish.Smooth Trunkfish.

Honeycomb Cowfish.Honeycomb Cowfish. are an INFREQUENT CIG poisoner.

Scrawled Cowfish.Scrawled Cowfish. are an INFREQUENT CIG poisoner.