Fishing co-ops are warning recreational fishermen are most at risk of ciguatera poisoning.
Nine people needed hospital treatment for ciguatera poisoning last weekend after eating part of a 25-kilo Spanish Mackerel caught by a recreational angler off Scotts Head, near Macksville.
Spanish Mackerel over 10-kilos is not sold commercially and some co-ops have stopped selling pelagic fish over 5-kilos.
Chairman of the Macleay River District Fisherman’s Co-op, Laurie Macanally, said the real danger is for recreational fishermen who do not know the risks.
This is just a guarantee that when people go to the co-op or the fish shop, they get a good wholesome product.
Laurie Macanally, Chairman of the Macleay River District Fisherman’s Co-op
“Recreational fisherman should know there is a risk in eating these oversize fish,” he said.
“It is up to the fisherman but I would be cautious of any Spanish Mackerel over 18-kilos.
“Ciguatera is not common, it is highly likely the fish will be fine, but if you eat a lot of Spanish Mackerel it can build up in your system.”
Additional restrictions were put in place by commercial fishing authorities following a poisoning incident at Evans Head, south of Ballina, earlier this year.
Mr Macanally said the restrictions ensure fish sold in the region are safe.
“The issue has been followed quite widely in Queensland and Northern NSW for some time,” he said.
“We know it is present in the larger fish but not in the smaller fish, and so this is just a guarantee that when people go to the co-op or the fish shop, they get a good wholesome product.”