Monday, May 30, 2011

NOAA confirms sick fish in Gulf

The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration is standing by its declaration that the Gulf of Mexico seafood is safe to eat, but for the first time it's warning anglers that some fish are sick and may pose health problems if handled or eaten raw.

The agency is telling anglers to toss fish that have lesions, fin rot or discolored skin back into the Gulf and to be careful about handling them. This warning comes just one week before the June 1 opening of recreational red snapper season.


If you catch a sick fish, NOAA advises anglers to:

» Release the fish back into the water with minimal to no handling. Use a fishhook-remover device. Avoid contact with skin, especially if you have cuts or sores on your skin. 

» Document where you caught the fish, and if possible, photograph it. A website is being developed on which anglers may post their findings. 

»Anglers are not advised to keep the sick fish because of the risks of the fish transmitting disease to humans. 

»If you bring in a red snapper with lesions, it does count toward your fishing quota.

For more details, go to, where NOAA will post a notice of the sick fish, guidelines and other details in the next day or two.

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