By Monique Washington
One of Nevis’s most popular fish, the snapper has claimed a number of victims over the past two weeks by causing fish poisoning to those who consume it.
Former Director of Fisheries Captain Authur Anslyn voiced his concerns with the Observer on Wednesday. He noted that though species of snapper such as the “dog teeth” and “black fin” snapper are known locally as a fish that can poison. The Sea Bream (brim) which has caused the persons to be poison is one species he in his lifetime has never heard of it poisoning.
“These snappers are deep water fish and beyond the reach of the toxins. The Brim is the big eye red snapper and I have never heard it poisoning anyone before. This really concerns me,” he said.
Mr. Anslyn noted that besides the fisheries being affected the tourism can be affected as well.
“The tourism part is where the hotel buys it not expecting for it to have these toxins,” he said. “Not when we rely on tourism and we can lose it over night by poisoning 10 tourists at one time. We need to find out what the problem is. These are the fish that tourists eat.”
He said something has occurred to create this imbalance because he has never heard of it in his life time.” He added, “We need to be up to date but it doesn’t seem like anybody doing anything about it.”
The Observer also contacted On Wednesday the Director of the Fisheries Department Althea Arthurton who directed the question to the Permanent Secretary of Agriculture Eric Evelyn.
Mr. Evelyn noted that he was aware of some cases of fish poisoning but was unable to give too much information. He directed the Observer to former Director of Fisheries Lemuel Pemberton.
Mr. Pemberton said the toxin Suaturia is consumed by small fish that are then eaten by bigger fish and the chain continues. He said, however, that as far as the Brim fish “I don’t think I have ever heard has poisoned anybody.”
He noted that the toxins can be found in several areas around Nevis and no area is out of bounds for fisherman He pointed out that seasoned fishermen know where the areas are and would not fish there.
He said that fishermen who have an up to date GPS can locate where the toxins in the reefs are. but others will not know.
“The newer fishermen might go to an area where the toxins are and find a lot of fish because the more experienced fishermen would not fish there,” he added.
He encouraged consumers to “make sure you know your fisherman make sure it is someone who has been selling fish all the time and that has no reports of poisoning any one,” he said.