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Red Tide: Is It Safe to Eat Seafood?

We had one question. Is it safe to eat seafood during red tide events?

You can’t see or taste red tide, so we looked for an answer by talking to local restaurants.

“They call everyday. They’ll call everyday and ask us ‘How’s your fish not being affected by and how’s your shrimp not being affected by red tide?’,” Vicki Ely, a market clerk at Skip One Seafood, said.

Skip One Seafood has been serving up fish for years. So we spoke to the market clerk to get some answers.

“It’s safe to eat. It’s safe to eat. If there is a problem they’re going to shut it down. Like the clam beds they’ll shut them down if it’s a problem,” Ely said.

So, it’s safe to eat fish during red tide, but there are some things you should know.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said eating shellfish from a restaurant or buying it from a store is safe during red tide.

Why? Because the government keeps track and tests shellfish for toxins.

“They have a system down and they’re not going to let us get sick,” Ely said. “They’re not going to let that happen.”

Avoid hard clams, oysters, and mussels that are illegally harvested in a red tide area.

Red tide doesn’t affect shrimp, lobsters and crabs.

It’s ok to eat local fish during red tide as long as the fish is filleted before you eat it.

“Take the skin off and the bone out,” Ely said. “When we get it here it’s gutted and we just keep it whole and we ice it. Temperature is everything.”

The toxins can get into the organs of the fish, but if you gut them and filet them, you will be fine.

And remember to never pick up dead fish off the beach! Red tide might not be the only reason they died.