A 25 kilo Spanish Mackerel caught off the mid north coast over the weekend sent nine people to hospital with Ciguatera poisoning.
The fish was caught near Scotts Head, south of Macksville mid morning on Sunday.
One of the fishermen Peter Joyce said he and the boy who caught the mackerel cleaned it and divided it up.
He said the fish was shared with family and friends, and those who ate it were then rushed to hospital early yesterday morning.
About six hours after eating the fish they nearly all landed in hospital
Peter Joyce, Scotts Head fisherman
“The people that are in hospital suffered from like tingling all across the body, cold water feeling giving them a hot sensation, vomiting, diarrheal and extreme lethargy. they were as ‘weak as kittens’ as one of the patients put it.
“About six hours after eating the fish they nearly all landed in hospital.”
“Public health have been on the job and in NSW they recommend that you don’t consume oceanic pelagic from warm water.
“So you’re talking about Mackerel, Mahi Mahi, Sailfish, Marlin, those kinds of fish that frequent the warm climates.
“Don’t eat them in NSW if they’re over 10 kilos.”
Meanwhile recent outbreaks of Ciguatera poisoning have forced a rethink of the rules regarding the sale of large pelagic fish on the north coast.
It comes after the weekend incident at Scotts Heads, and the poisoning of four others at Evans Head last month.
The general manager of the Ballina Fishermen’s Co-op, Phil Hellard, said it appears affected fish are being caught further south.
“We do have a risk management strategy in place that says anything that was caught north of Byron Bay that weighed more than 10 kilos couldn’t be taken for human consumption, and that’s worked for us, he said.
“With these new cases we’ve now instituted a ban on all fish over 10 kilos in the Mackerel species.”