Florida Sea Grant Extension in Collier County

Welcome to the Collier County Sea Grant Extension Blog

This blog is an opportunity for me to share with you my extension outreach efforts and useful information to make you a more informed coastal citizen. If you have any questions about what you see, feel free to contact me at fluech@ufl.edu.


Search This Blog

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Are You Smarter than a Stone Crab? January 23rd

It’s that time again for another round of “Are You Smarter than A Stone Crab? The next tour will be Jan 23, 2013. This time the tour will begin at the Evergaldes City Museum so participants can learn more about the heritge associated with commercial fishing in Everglades City. This program is a great way to learn more about the economic and cultural importance of one of Florida’s most valuable fisheries. Hope to see you there! To register, click on the flyer below.
 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

2013 SW Florida Marine Fisheries Workshop

I hope you will be able to join us for our 2013 SW Florida Fisheries Regulations and Management Workshop!
 
To register visit:

Friday, November 9, 2012

A Florida Stone Crab's Life Cycle

Stone crabs are one of Florida’s most valuable fisheries, and like other species we depend on for seafood, they often utilize a variety of habitats and undergo a series of physical transformations throughout their life.

Mating in stone crabs takes place near and offshore during the fall and can only occur when the female has molted and her shell is soft. While eggs are fertilized internally, they are eventually deposited beneath the female’s abdomen or “apron” in an external mass called a sponge. Spawning typically occurs during summer months and females can release millions of fertilized eggs in several intervals.

The eggs, which float in the water column, usually hatch within two weeks and then larval development takes approximately a month to complete. Larvae are planktonic and are transported to coastal and estuarine waters. The first larval stage to emerge from the egg is a called a zoea. As the zoea larvae grows they pass through five distinct changes before developing into a post-larval form called a megalopae. The megalopae, which is more crab-like in appearance, will settle to the bottom where it will take shelter. Here, it will molt several times before transitioning to a juvenile stone crab.

A juvenile stone crab in my hand
Unlike adult Florida stone crabs, which are tan in color, juvenile stone crabs up to about 2.5 cm (1 inch) in width are deep purple to black with white flecks on their carapace. Like the adults though, they have distinctive white bands on their legs. As they grow and molt, they will begin to take on the appearance of adult stone crabs. Juveniles can be found living among shell rubble, oyster beds, sponges, and tunicates in estuarine and nearshore habitats.

An adult stone crab hiding under a ledge
Florida stone crabs becomes sexually mature by two years of age. Adults will move around and can be found living in burrows among seagrass communities, or offshore out to depths of 200 feet, where they live under ledges or in burrows and crevices associated with hardbottom communities. Age estimates suggest male Florida stone crabs live for seven or eight years while females can live up to eight or nine years.
 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Overview of Florida's Commercial Snapper Fisheries


Image credits: Dianne Pebbles, SAFMC
Snappers (Family Lutjanidae) are a widely-distributed group of fishes that inhabit a diverse range of coastal and marine habitats. They are generalized predators characterized by the presence of strong jaws with prominent canine teeth. Generally smaller than grouper, they can range from a few pounds to over 60 pounds. Florida has approximately 15 snapper species; only half of which are targeted by commercial fishermen as they are prized for their firm texture and mild flavored meat.

 
Landings
2010 Florida Snapper Landings (lbs)
by FloridaCoast: Source:FWRI

Over the last decade, an average of 4.3 million pounds of snapper worth an average of $10.7 million were landed by Florida commercial fishermen. Despite the diversity of snappers found in Florida waters, approximately 90% of commercial landings come from three primary species; yellowtail, vermillion, and red snapper. Top landings for red and vermillion snapper occur in the Panhandle region, while south Florida dominates yellowtail landings. Much like grouper, the overwhelming majority of snapper are landed on Florida's Gulf coast in federal waters.

Management
Snappers are heavily regulated with high demand from both the commercial and recreational sectors. Stocks are managed separately in the Gulf and Atlantic waters. State regulations typically mirror federal rules for consistency, but this is not always true. Management of the snapper fishery has been challenging due to a lack of data on both the resource and the fishery. Improved data collection during the 1980s and 1990s has provided more management information on some of the more commercially and recreationally valuable species, but lack of basic management data on many of the species still remains the major obstacle to successful management.

Status of Populations
Of Florida's three major commercial snapper species, yellowtail populations appear to be the most robust. They are neither overfished nor experiencing overfishing in either the Atlantic or Gulf of Mexico. While vermilion snapper are abundant in the Gulf of Mexico, population levels are lower in the Caribbean and South Atlantic. They are not considered overfished, but are experiencing overfishing in this region; management measures are currently in place to end overfishing
.

* denotes the stock is undergoing a rebuilding plan.
Source: Gulf and S. Atlantic Fishery Management Councils
Perhaps no other snapper species has generated as much controversy surrounding its management than red snapper. Because of its high demand by both commercial and recreational fishermen, it has undergone intense fishing pressure for years and is one of the most tightly regulated fisheries in the United States. South Atlantic stocks of red snapper are overfished and experiencing overfishing. The decline in the Atlantic population is thought to have occurred since the 1950s with continued pressure in following decades. The 2008 stock assessment indicated that overfishing was occurring at 14 times the sustainable level. Based on this information, the entire snapper fishery was shut down in the beginning of 2010. Recent considerations to shut down large areas off of Florida and Georgia’s coasts to all snapper and grouper fishing was negated due to updated stock assessment data that indicated the stock was in slightly better shape than previously thought. It is expected, however, that the fishery will remain closed for several more years and a full recovery won’t be for several decades.


Source: NMFS
Since implementing a catch share program in 2007 the commercial Gulf red snapper fishery has seen a 40 percent increase in the total allowable catch. In fact, overfishing of red snapper in the Gulf ended in 2009. While still classified as overfished, the stock appears to be rebuilding faster than anticipated; even with the better than expected news, the stock is not expected to be fully recovered until 2032.

Several factors have contributed to the complexity associated with red snapper management:

Shrimp Trawl Bycatch
Historically, the unintended bycatch of juvenile red snapper in shrimp trawls contributed to a significant portion of snapper mortality. Over the past several years though, the domestic shrimp fleet has been significantly reduced due to fuel prices, competition with imports, and hurricanes. As a result, juvenile mortality levels have decreased, contributing to faster than expected rebuilding efforts. In addition, improved designs in Bycatch Reduction Devices (BRDs) in shrimp nets is thought to have contributed to recovery efforts.
Discard Mortality
Because of strict regulations such as closed seasons and size and bag limits, many red snapper are released by fishermen. Unfortunately, a significant percentage of these released fish (approximately 40% of released recreational fish and up to 90% of released commercial fish) do not survive, which further hinders management efforts to rebuild the fishery. Recent regulations requiring the use of circle hooks, dehooking devices, and venting tool have helped to reduce release mortality of released fish.
Management Mandates
In 2006 the Magnuson-Stevens Conservation and Management Act set new guidelines to end overfishing and rebuild U.S. fish stocks. The re-authorization directed managers to act quickly to implement regulations to reduce mortality and end overfishing of affected stocks. As a result, managers were forced to implement more stern actions to rebuild red snapper stocks.
Public Perception
Despite red snapper populations being considered overfished, many fishermen report catching more than ever before. Part of the issue has to do with the life history of red snapper. Red snapper are thought to live at least 50 years, and larger fish do not always mean older fish. Despite recent increases in overall numbers of red snapper, the age structure of the population remains truncated and there are not enough older fish to successfully repopulate the stock. Adding to the frustration of fishermen is that the ongoing snapper regulations have occurred during tough economic times, thus affecting their ability to earn a living from snapper fishing.


References:



Saturday, October 13, 2012

Recording: Florida Hard Clam Industry Webinar

Did you know that Florida is one of the top producers of farm raised hard clams in the country?
I invite you to watch a recording of a webinar I presented on Florida's hard clam aquaculture industry. There are three main goals of the webinar
  1. Increase your knowledge of basic hard clam biology & ecology
  2. Enhance your understanding of the trends, importance, & management of Florida’s hard clam industry
  3. Make you more informed about the purchasing, storing, & handling of hard clams
Webinar Recording
View the Blackboard Collaborate recording

Hard Clam webinar Evaluation
How did I do? If you watch the webinar please take a minute to complete a short evaluation. Your feedback will me in the preparation of future presentations

Hard Clam Resources
I refer to several hard clam resources during the presenation and want to share them with you.

UF/IFAS Florida Shellfish Aquaculture Resource: shellfish.ifas.ufl.edu



Florida Seafood Brown Bag Webinar Series Recordings
 Finally, if you would like to watch the recordings of past webinars in our series visit:
http://miami-dade.ifas.ufl.edu/environment/sea_grant_seafood.shtml

Friday, September 14, 2012

Snapshot of marine economic impacts in and around Collier County

Economic impacts measure the level of economic activity in a given area. They may be viewed in terms of: (1) business output (or sales volume), (2) value added (or gross regional or domestic product), (3) business taxes, (4) personal income (including wages) or (5) jobs. Any of these measures can be an indicator of economic well-being (source: Economic Development Research Group, 1997). Below is a snapshot of the marine recreational and commercial industries and activities in Collier County (and surrounding areas) and their economic consequences and impacts.

Recreational Saltwater Fishing Activities
  • In 2010, 26,275 recreational saltwater fishing licenses were purchased in Collier County resulting in over $ 4.7 million dollars in sales. In addition over 2,000 special endorsements such as snook and lobster permits and tarpon tags were purchased with an estimated value of  over $21,300.  (source: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission – FWC).
  • Charter captains in Collier County purchased 221 fishing licenses for either the captain or vessel in groups of 4 or less, 6 or less, 10 or less or 11 or more passengers resulting in over $60,130 in sales (source: FWC).
  •  Fishermen and divers who use southwest Florida’s artificial reefs sites spend over $253 million in the region annually. (source: Florida Sea Grant)
  • Expenditures on artificial reef-related activities in Southwest Florida generated almost $227million in economic outputs that supported over 2,500 full- and parttime jobs.
  • In southwest Florida (Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Desoto, Lee and Collier counties) recreational fishing activities resulted in $1.3 billion in sales and supported 14,530 jobs in 2007 (source: FWC and NOAA Marine Fisheries)  
  •  In the 2010/2011 fiscal year, over 1.2 million individuals bought a saltwater recreational fishing license including more than 860,000 Florida residents and 394,000 non-residents. Total revenue for all marine recreational fishing license sales was over $25 million. (source:FWC)
  • Recreational fishing resulted in over $5 billion in economic impacts and supported approximately 50,000 jobs during 2009 (source: FWC).

Commercial  Fishing Activities
  • 171 commercial fishermen held saltwater products licenses in Collier County during 2008/09. There were 20 wholesale dealers, and 93 retail dealers over the same period (source: FWC).
  • Over 1.5 million pounds of  seafood products were landed by commercial fishermen in  Collier County in 2010. Of this amount, 608,000 pounds were stone crab claws worth an estimated $5.5 million in dockside value (source: FWC)
  • San Carlos Island shrimp harvesting and processing resulted in $54.9 million in economic impact for Lee County and supported 1,555 jobs in 1998 (source: Florida Sea Grant).
  • In Florida commercial fishing and seafood production resulted in $12.9 billion in sales and support-ed 64,744 jobs during 2009 (source: NOAA Fisheries of the US).
 
Boating Activities
  • 21,691 vessels were registered in Collier County in 2010 (source: Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles – DHSMV).
  •  In Florida, boaters spent $3.4 billion on boating trips in 2007 and $5.2 billion in watercraft expenses, which together supported 97,000 jobs. The economic effect of these same activities in southwest Florida (Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Sarasota, Desoto, Manatee) was $483 million in trip spending, $825 million in watercraft spending, together supporting 14.530 jobs (source: FWC)

Economic Summary
  • In 2009, there were over 10,000 people employed by 616 marine/coastal-related establishments in Collier County who earned over $270 million in wages with a GDP of over $618 million. (source: NOAA's State of the Coast)
  • Florida’s coastal counties account for 79% of the state’s overall economic productivity (source: National Oceans Economic Program, 2010).

 

Friday, August 31, 2012

How are you connected to south Florida?

Have you ever thought how you are connected to south Florida's marine environments? Fortunately, if you don't quite know the answer to the question, there is a new book that can help you see the many connections that exist between the region and those who visit and live there.

Pam Fletcher with Florida Sea Grant and and William Kruczynski of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are the co-editors of a new book called Tropical Connections: South Florida's Marine Environments. The book summarizes technical information on the south Florida marine ecosystem in a way that is easy to read and understand, and it is intended for students, educators, lay readers, and decision makers.

The book is comprised of fact pages that were prepared by 162 experts in their scientific disciplines. They can be used individually, but are arranged in chapters that help synthesize the information.

According to the editors, The title contains the word "connections" because the marine habitats of south Florida are interconnected physically, chemically, and biologically, as well as connected with other geographic regions. If you live, vacation, boat, swim, snorkel, SCUBA dive, fish, spear fish, bird watch, or eat marine fish or shellfish in south Florida, you are "connected" to the south Florida marine habitats. Also, people who read about, study, or enjoy knowing that the marine habitats of south Florida exist as natural wonders have a special connection to this place that may be no less significant than physical experiences.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Recording of Florida Swordfish Webinar

Did you miss our Brown Bag Webinar on Swordfish? No worries!


Credit: Photo courtesy of Mike Carden a longline fisherman from Panama City, FL
You can watch a recording of our Florida Swordfish Fishery Webinar, which is part of our Florida Seafood Brown Bag Webinar Series. The series is intended for seafood lovers and educators who are interested in learning more about the safety and sustainability associated with Florida’s fisheries and seafood industry. The goals of the scallop presentation are:
  1. Increase your knowledge of basic swordfish biology and ecology
  2. Enhance your understanding of the trends, importance, and management of Florida’s and U.S. North Atlantic swordfish fishery
  3. Make you more informed about the purchasing and consuming swordfish
To view the recording, click HERE

We want to hear from you!
We would love to get your feedback about the presentation by completing a short evaluation. Your input helps us plan for future educational programs. To access the evaluation click HERE.

Recordings of Past Webinar in the Series
Click HERE if you would like to view the recordings of past webinars from this series.
Additional Swordfish Resources

Friday, August 3, 2012

Florida's Commercial Spiny Lobster Fishery

Image credit:FDACS
Did you know that 100% of the spiny lobster (Panulirus agrus) commercially harvested in the United States comes from Florida? In fact, spiny lobster is one of Florida's top seafood products in dockside value. In 2011 over 5.7 million pounds were harvested with a dockside value of over $38 million dollars!
Florida's spiny lobster fishery is concentrated mainly in South Florida, with approximately 90% of landings coming from the Florida Keys. While the fishery is jointly managed in federal waters by the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic Fishery Management Councils, most of the fishing effort occurs in state waters, which is managed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Several regulations are implemented to ensure the long-term sustainability of the fishery.
  • Minimum size limits
  • Closed seasons/areas
  • Gear restrictions
  • Trap limitation and permitting program
The commercial spiny lobster season runs August 6th through March 31st. Typically a large proportion of landings occur in the first several months of the season followed by a steady decline the rest of the season. Fishing effort, in many cases also follow this trend. For example, in October many fishermen shift to harvesting stone crab, which contribute to decreased effort.


Image credit: FDACS
Since the 1960's Florida's spiny lobster fishery has primarily used traps to harvest the crustaceans, although some operations continue to dive for them.  Lobsters are landed alive in depths from six to 300 feet.Traps are constructed of wood or plastic and can be no larger than three feet by two feet by two feet or the volumetric equivalent (12 cubic feet) with an entrance located at the top of the trap.  Traps are also required to have a self-deteriorating escape panel to reduce incidents of "ghost" fishing in case the traps are lost or abandoned.  Fishermen typically string traps along a trap line with each end of the line marked by a buoy. Traps, buoys, and vessels, must display a special permit number preceded by the letter "C" to denote them as commercial lobster operations.
 Traps that are lost, abandoned, or incorrectly deployed can cause damage to reefs and seagrasses. To minimize these potential impacts management efforts have closed certain areas off to lobster fishing, and several organizations conduct trap clean up events to remove derelict traps off sensitive bottom habitats.


Image credit: Bryan Fluech
Despite a large domestic fishery, imports of spiny lobster tails make up at least an order of magnitude larger than what Florida fishermen land. Shell-on, frozen lobster tails are commonly imported from Brazil, Bahamas, Nicaragua, and Honduras. In addition, a significant portion of Florida landings are also exported. International demand for spiny lobsters have increased in recent year, particularly whole, live lobsters which brings a higher price to fishermen. Lobsters are often exported to China, Japan and other Asian countries in addition to Canada, France, and other European countries.

Spiny lobster landings in the 2000's have been considerably lower than in the previous decade, but pinpointing a single cause is difficult. Many factors affect fishery recruitment including the lost of juvenile and adult habitat, changes in spawning stock and larval supply, changes in water quality, and events that can impact population dynamics such as hurricanes, algal blooms, and/or changes in oceanographic conditions. In addition PaV1, a naturally-occurring pathogenic virus that is often fatal to juvenile spiny lobster is also thought to have played a factor in these declines.

According to NOAA, the U.S. spiny lobster fishery is not undergoing overfishing nor is it overfished. However, the status of the population is unknown because larval spiny lobster in U.S. waters come mostly from multiple areas of the Caribbean Sea. Without sampling the entire Caribbean region, it is impossible to assess the local population.

 
Image credit: Bryan Fluech

References:
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission-Commercial Landings Data
NOAA-Fishwatch
http://www.fishwatch.gov/

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Play it Smart During Spiny Lobster Sport Season

Sanctuary Friends of the Florida Keys
 Each year during the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday in July thousands of recreational anglers converge on the Florida Keys for Florida’s famous spiny lobster sport season. More than 50,000 anglers have been documented on the water during this two-day "mini" season, and the density of boats along local coral patch reefs can be 900x higher than during the remainder of the regular season (1). Unfortunately, diving and boating accidents are common and deaths are not unheard of during this time. The impact to the lobster population can also great. Managers estimate the two-day sport season is responsible for 20-25% of the total annual recreational fishing effort and 80-90% of the legal size lobsters can be removed from reefs during this time (1,2)

 Spiny Lobster Sport Season Regulations
  • Bag Limit: 6 per person per day for Monroe County and Biscayne National Park, and 12 per person per day for the rest of Florid
  • Size Limit: Carapace 3 inches or larger, measured in the water. Possession and use of a measuring device is required at all time
  • Possession Limit on the Water: Equal to the daily bag limit
  • Possession Limit off the Water: Equal to the daily bag limit on the first day, and double the daily bag limit on the second day. Possession limits are enforced on and off the water.

*Harvest of spiny lobster is prohibited in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park during the sport season.  Harvest is also prohibited during both the 2-day sport season and regular season in Biscayne National Park’s Lobster Sanctuary, Everglades National Park, Dry Tortugas National Park, and no take areas in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Night diving is prohibite in Monroe County during the sport season.For more information on spiny lobster sport and regular season regulations click here.

 
To legally harvest spiny lobster, a spiny lobster permit must be purchased in addition to a valid Florida saltwater fishing license (even if you are fishing from shore and have a free shoreline lincese, a spiny lobster permit is required). Click here for more information on fishing licenses.

 
Useful Tools for Spiny Lobster Sport Season
  • Dive Flag - All divers in Florida waters must display a dive flag and stay within 100 feet of it.
  • Short-Handled Lobster Net and Tail Snare - Nets are used on sand flats while snares are best for reefs. 
  • Tickle Stick - A thin fiberglass rod about 24 inches long used to coax lobsters out of holes without harming the reef.
  • Gloves - Used to get a firm grip on a lobster. Always handle a lobster by its carapace as they can sacrifice an antennae to escape being caught
  • Mesh Game Bag - To hold your catch. Look for models with a convenient way to attach to your weight belt or gear, and a locking enclosure.
  • Lobster Gauge - Every diver must carry a lobster gauge and must measure the lobster under water before it's placed in the game bag.



According to the FWC, "the carapace is measured beginning at the forward edge between the rostral horns, excluding any soft tissue, and proceeding along the middle to the rear edge of the carapace."


References
(1)  Eggleston, D.B, E.G. Johnson, G.T. Kellison, and D.A. Nadeau. 2003. Intense removal and non-saturating functional responses by recreational divers on spiny lobster Panulirus argus. Mar Ecol Prog Ser. 257: 197-207.

(2)  Sharp, W.C., R.D. Bertelsen, and V.R. Leeworthy. 2005. Long-term trends in the recreational lobster fishery of Florida, United States: Landings, effort and implications for management. New Zeal J Mar Freshwat Res. 39: 733-747.









Saturday, July 7, 2012

Do You Need a Florida Saltwater Fishing License?

SINCE AUGUST 1, 2009, A SALTWATER FISHING LICENSE IS REQUIRED FOR FLORIDA RESIDENTS WHO FISH FROM SHORE.


Ø Besides natural shorelines the license is required for piers, jetties, bridges, floating docks or similar structures and includes bay, inland, Gulf and Atlantic waters of the State

Ø  Since July 1, 2010 the annual resident shoreline fishing license is FREE, but residents fishing from shore are still required to obtain the license. Resident anglers who order the shoreline license over the phone or Internet will still have to pay a processing fee to the vendor

Ø Resident anglers who purchase a one-year, five-year, combination, or lifetime saltwater license are covered for both shoreline and watercraft recreational fishing.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, a resident is "Any person who has resided in Florida for six continuous months prior to applying for a resident license and who claims Florida as their primary residence, or any member of the U.S. armed forces who is stationed in the state."


YOU DO NOT NEED A SALTWATER FISHING LICENSE IF YOU ARE...


Ø A resident drawing food stamps, temporary cash assistance or Medicaid and carrying an issued identification card while fishing

Ø A resident fishing in their home county with live or natural bait using a cane pole or other gear that does not depend on mechanical retrieval

Ø Under 16 years of age

Ø A Florida resident over 65 years of age

Ø Fishing from a for-hire vessel

Ø Fishing from a pier with a valid pier saltwater fishing license

Ø A Florida resident who's a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, home on leave for 30 days or less

Ø A Florida resident who possesses a Florida Resident Disabled Person Hunting and Fishing Certificate

Ø A holder of a saltwater products license

Ø Accepted as a client for developmental services by Dept. of Child and Family services, with proof there of

Ø A resident with a no-cost Florida Resident Disabled Person Hunting and Fishing Certificate, with certification of disability
To order a fishing license online visit: www.fl.wildlifelicense.com
or call 1-888-FISH FLORIDA (1-888-347-4356)

Additiona information can be obtained by visiting
www.myfwc.com or http://catchandrelease.org

Why should I consider purchasing a license if I'm not required to have one?
The more licenses purchased by Florida anglers, the more federal aid the state gets to support sport fish conservation and restoration projects. License sales help bring fishing tackle and motor boat fuel taxes back to Florida and help support its economy.





<>
<>



Friday, June 29, 2012

Chill Out: Preventing Scrombrotoxin Poisoning


Two primary species of mackerel are harvested in Florida waters. The King mackerel (Scomberomorus cavalla) and Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorous maculatus) are two of the most important fishery species in the state. In 2011, both species were among the state’s top 10 commercial finfish species for landings and dockside value, worth more than $10 million combined.
As any south Florida angler knows mackerel are also among the most popular recreational fishes. They’re fairly common, put on a good fight, and taste good too. Sixty-eight percent of the total allowable catch is allocated to the recreational fishery and King and Spanish mackerel are both among the top five recreationally harvested species in the state (by weight).

King and Spanish mackerel are healthy sources of protein, Omega-3s, selenium, and B vitamins. However, it is essential that they are handled properly once landed as they have been identified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as being capable of causing scombrotoxin poisoning. Other potential fish include:


What is scombrotoxin poisoning?
Scombrotoxin or histamine poisoning occurs when histamine and other biogenic amines are permitted to build up as a result of bacterial spoilage associated with time/temperature abuse. In the U.S. it is one of the most common illnesses caused by seafood, but it may also be prevented with proper handling and cooling. Biogenic amines, including histamine, are natural chemicals that can form in fish anytime during harvest, preparation and storage, though growth is more rapid at high temperatures. These amines may begin to develop after the fish dies, and will increase if the fish is left in the water too long after death, or if it is not adequately chilled immediately after it is brought on board.

Symptoms
Once histamine is formed it does not go away and cannot be eliminated by washing, cooking or freezing. Therefore, prevention is the only way to assure that histamine is not present in fish. Any fish that is showing signs of spoilage should be discarded, however even if a fish smells or looks good histamine may still be present and illness is possible. In most cases, the illness occurs very quickly and is relatively short-lived. While severe reactions are rare, symptoms are very uncomfortable and include flushing of the face and neck, tingling sensation of the tongue, headaches or dizziness, vomiting and/or diarrhea.

Prevention
Rapid chilling of fish immediately after death is the most important strategy for preventing the formation of scombrotoxin. Formation of biogenic amines is drastically reduced by cooling fish to 40° F (internal) and fish should be packed in ice, ice slush, chilled seawater or chilled brine as quickly as possible. Since larger fish take longer to cool than smaller fish evisceration (removal of the guts) of larger fish is a good way to help remove the bacteria that causes formation of biogenic amines. Evisceration must be done carefully and the gut cavity should be filled with ice or cooling media to quicken internal chilling.

References
1. Fish and Fishery Products Hazards and Controls Guidance (FDA Hazards Guide)(4th Edition).