University Of Tasmania

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Raising awareness of ciguatera fish poisoning in Australia: a survey of recreational fishers

posted on 2023-05-25, 19:38 authored by Andreas SegerAndreas Seger, Alison TurnbullAlison Turnbull
Ciguatera fish poisoning is the most frequent seafood related illness in Australia, despite only an estimated 20% of cases being reported to authorities. To raise awareness of ciguatera, SafeFish initiated an awareness campaign that included an online survey of recreational fishermen. The survey aimed to determine current awareness levels, how best to raise these levels and to briefly gauge how much support there was in the recreational fishing community for citizen science projects. Promoted through Facebook, the survey was shared 35 times, received a total of 223 likes and attracted over 90 user comments. Answered by 236 individuals, the survey revealed that individuals were largely aware of ciguatera (90%) and 29 individuals identified as having suffered from ciguatera before (only 59% had their diagnosis confirmed by a health care worker).

Recreational fishers indicated that the currently available information on ciguatera did not meet their needs, particularly in regard to the desired level of detail. The specific areas that respondents were most interested in knowing more about included a list of at-risk fish species; information on poisoning symptoms and treatment options; as well as toxin uptake pathways. As the majority of fishers indicated, this information would be best presented in the form of fact sheets/pamphlets, videos or written articles, while infographics and social media posts were determined to be of mild interest. The preferred way of accessing this type of information was online. Another avenue of engaging with recreational fishers is through citizen science projects, towards which most of the surveyed fishers responded positively. The SafeFish ciguatera awareness campaign will now focus on developing the requested information materials and disseminating them online through the SafeFish website and the Northern Territory Fisheries Department, as well as the social media and recreational fishing networks originally used to recruit survey participants.


South Australian Research and Development Institute


Commissioning body

Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania


31 March




Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania

Place of publication

Hobart, Tasmania

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Food safety