Poisoning freshwater puffers in a fish pond (Egypt) or a reservoir (Sudan)

The puffers which have several common names including blowfish, ballonfish and others   belong to the “Tetraodontidae” family include more than 120 species that occur worldwide. Although most of blow fish species occur in tropical and subtropical ocean waters, some fish species of this group live in brackish and even freshwater such as the ones shown in the inserted pictures. In fact, the single specimen was found in a fish pond in Egypt while the other picture was photographed during my visit to Sudan (Jabal Awliya reservoir).

A key character of these fish is their Poisoning behavior.The incidences of puffer poisoning are usually linked to the consumption of ill-prepared puffer soup and/or raw puffer meat such as in sashimi. Because the levels of toxins vary from a specimen to another and from a season to season as well as from a location to another, the effects that results from the consumption of puffers vary from light-headedness up to death passing by numbness of the lips, dizziness, vomiting, rapid heart rate, decreased blood pressure, and muscle paralysis. It may worth noting that this neurotoxin is found primarily in the liver and ovaries, although smaller amounts and traces exist in the intestines and skin, as well in muscle.

Utilization: Regardless the poisoning risk associated with the consumption of blowfish, this does not deter them from being considered a delicacy and expensive sushi dish in Korea and Japan (bok; sashimi fugu). However, only licensed and trained chefs should be the authorized ones to prepare these dishes. However, for various reasons, the poisoning continues to threat the like of people who are not aware about the whole thing or who could not carry out safe preparation for the fish.

Reference: Abdel Rahman El Gamal, Aquapedia (in Press)

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