Seafood safe to eat?
If the sewer systems on the coasts of the DR allow raw sewage to ooze into the sea, is it safe to eat locally harvested fish and shellfish? I know that shellfish beds off the coast of the US can be closed due to very heavy rains and problems that the rains cause with septic systems. I would think that less well regulated sewer systems in the DR, would cause even greater problems with seafood.
Do the fishermen go far enough out to catch clean fish?
I have never got sick from eating fish in the D.R. and I have been eating it for years.
I only buy it from restaurants and supermarkets, however.
I know some fishermen at Tablon near Sosua and they always fish on the far side of the reef so there should be no worries about Ciguatera (SP?)
As for pollution - there might be a bit more sewage but probably less heavy metals on the North Coast.
One of the problems for me is that when you see guys selling shellfish on the beach, there is no reason to believe it is fresh.
It stinks to high heaven when they walk by. Fresh fish does not smell like this.
Bearing in mind that electricity is not guaranteed in the D.R. there is a fair chance that the prawns will not have been refrigerated overnight. I personally never buy from the beach guys. I would especially not buy from them later in the afternoon when the prawns have been out in the sun all day.
Note: This does not apply to the beach restaurants.
Thank you for the advice, pedrochemical! I was born on the coast, and now live on the coast. I love fresh seafood! I have a huge respect for the fact that it must be harvested in clean waters, however. I look forward to sampling the seafood in the DR. Thanks, again!
There are no guarantees when you eat sea food.
I have friends who got ciguatera from eating fish in the DR. They were part of a family group, all ate fish, some got ciguatera, others did not.
There would be more on this message board if it happened often, but people do get sick. Besides my friends, I have heard of several other cases during the years I have lived in the DR.
Originally Posted by Ken2
How did having Ciguatera work out? Are they OK?
It sounds pretty nasty.
Does proper cooking kill Ciguatera?
Cooking does not destroy ciguatera. It is a toxin put out by various reef bacteria and it works its way up the food chain. So eating grouper, snapper, barracuda or other reef predators are possible causes. Because barracuda eats other predators, it should never be eaten. I ate a lot of mero in the DR but I don't know what fish this was. It is translated as grouper on some sites and as sea bass on others. I'm hoping it was sea bass.
I don't buy reef fish just tuna, dolphin and wahoo when available.
Although you are not supposed to eat barracuda, in the Bahamas it is eaten quite often as the locals seem immune so it may be the same scenario in the DR concerning reef fish.
It would have been less nasty for them if they had been diagnosed and treated in time. They ate the fish at a Sosua restaurant the night before returning to Canada so didn't really know they were ill until they got back to Canada. The doctor they consulted there had no experience with ciguatera cases so didn't treat it as it should have been. By the time they got to a doctor who knew how to treat it the easy treatment no longer possible.
Originally Posted by pedrochemical
Dominican doctors and hospitals know what to do if you go for treatment within a couple of days (don't recall what the window is), but too few cases in Canada for all doctors to know how to recognize the symptoms.
As has been said, cooking does not kill it and it is cumulative. Each time you get it is worse than the time before.
Of course, you can get it anywhere, even in Canada, since so much fish is imported. They say that the bigger the fish the more toxin it is likely to have in its body waiting for somebody to eat it.
Mike, Bahamians get it, too. My wife and I spent quite a bit of time there when we were cruising on our sailboat and talked with people who had had it. Every fish does not have the toxin; I'm sure there are lots of people who eat a lot of fish who never get it.
I'm like you, just eat fish that I know are safe. I'm not lucky at lottery and would expect the same bad luck with Russian roulette (ie, eating fish).
Last edited by Ken; 03-14-2010 at 05:55 PM.
Wow! Y'all are great. I had never even heard of ciguatera prior to this forum. I was mainly concerned with the sewage contamination issue. I guess I'll be forced to eat only lobster, when I'm craving seafood!
Thanks for all the help!
So if you just eat tuna, dolphin and wahoo you will not get it.
There is a certain type of fish the british pubs in sosua use for there fish and chips---don't remember, but might be frozen fish shipped in.