Fish are one of the main food sources you’ll have when it comes to wilderness survival. That’s why it is important to know which ones are dangerous for you. Fish that contain toxins can be deadly for you and anyone with you. Therefore you need to be very careful when trying to catch your dinner.
These fish species are not very common, and it’s not like you need to be aware of all the fish you see. Still, there is a possibility that you may run into a toxic fish and you should know how to recognize it and prevent poisoning.
There are no simple rules to tell which fish are edible and which are the ones that can kill you. We’re talking about fish that contain various toxic substances and are usually the ones that live in shallow waters around reefs and lagoons.
Many of them have round bodies covered with bony plates or spines. Their mouth is small, and their gills too. The stomach fin is absent in many cases, or it is almost invisibly small. You need to be cautious when catching a fish and sometimes is better to stay hungry than to be poisoned.
Avoid places with shallow water that have sandy bottoms or broken coral reefs. Some Reef species can be very poisonous.
Never eat a fish caught in an area where you notice unnatural discoloration of the water. There are types of plankton that change the color of the water and it can be very poisonous. Fish feeding on this plankton can be toxic and you shouldn’t eat it. If possible always look for a deep water fish, which are rarely poisonous.
Why do fish contain mercury and which species to avoid
When coal is combusted, small pieces of mercury enter the air together with other pollutants. When it rains, the mercury gets into the water and turns into methylmercury which ends up in the stomach of the fish.
Small species can’t contain lots of mercury because of their small bodies, but the big ones can have high quantities stored in their flesh.
There are fish species that are toxic for many different reasons. Some because they eat toxic plants and organisms, others because they contain mercury which is very poisonous to humans.
Here is a list of toxic flesh fish you should avoid at all costs, it’s not complete, but it gives you an idea and somewhere to start with your own research: orange roughy, tuna albacore, tilefish, broadbill, marlin, barracuda, rabbit fish.
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