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Ciguatera fish poisoning is a serious problem in Hawaiʻi. The poison is found in many reef fish. Poisoning is caused by a toxin produced by the marine micro organism Gambier discus toxicus, which attaches to seaweed that is eaten by reef fish. The poison accumulates when reef fish are eaten by larger fish and then eaten by humans. None of the deep sea fish such as Tuna, Marlin, Mahi Mahi and Wahoo have been found to carry the ciguatera fish poison.


Mature Jack

Length over 5 feet

Weight up to 120



Length up to six feet

Weight up to 70 pounds


Length up to 20 inches

Weight up to 5 pounds



Length up to 18 inches

Weight up to 3 pounds


Juvenile Jack

Length up to 4-8 inches

Weight up to 10 pounds


Length up to 2 feet

Weight up to 2 pounds


Length up to 7 inches

Weight up to 1/2 pound

If Ciguatera is Suspected:
  • Call your doctor immediately


  • Save any uneaten portions of the fish for testing


  • Call Hawaiʻi Department of Health               Epidemiology Branch


  •  (808) 933-0912 Hawai'i  

  •  (808) 241-3563 Kaua'i    

  •  (808) 984-8213 Maui

  •  (808) 586-4586 O'ahu

To Avoid Ciguatera Fish Poisoning, you should:


  • Know the most common types of reef fish that carry the poison


    Know that any reef fish can carry         the poison


  • Avoid eating fish caught in areas where ciguatera poison have occured


  • Clean fish very well


  • Eat only small portions of large fish that might be suspected to carry the poison


  • Do not eat the roe (eggs), liver or guts because they have levels of the poison.


  • Know that this poison cannot be destroyed by cooking, freezing, smoking, salting or drying it.

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