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Title: A feasibility study on the mariculture of puffer fish in Hong Kong
Authors: Yu, CF
Keywords: Puffer fish
Marine fish culture zones of Hong Kong
Issue Date: 2002
Publisher: Nippon Foundation
Source: Recent advances in marine science and technology, 2002, p. 479-487 How to cite?
Journal: Recent advances in marine science and technology 
Abstract: During the period 1996-2002, nine species of puffer fishes were identified by us in Hong Kong waters. Although a total of twenty-six marine fish culture zones have been established in Hong Kong since the 1980s, puffer fishes are not among the cultured species as they are toxic and so are banned from marketing and consumption by the Hong Kong Government. Nevertheless, in some local restaurants, the serving of puffer fish is allowed if the fish are shown to be imported directly from Japan with the required health certificates.
Among the nine local species of puffer fish, most of which were reported to be toxic, we confirmed three species to be toxic and only one was non-toxic with the standard mouse bioassay. Moreover, the annual toxicological profiles of two toxic species revealed that the toxicity of their flesh was less than 10 mouse units per gram throughout the whole year. With proper processing, screening and storage methods, the flesh of most puffer fish is able to meet the safety standards of Japan and China for human consumption.
To fully utilize the local marine resources in Hong Kong, puffer fishes should be potential candidates for aquaculture in the near future. Apart from the flesh being for human consumption, the toxic viscera of puffer fish (mainly ovaries and liver) can be explored to produce the valuable tetrodotoxin (a neurotoxin mainly found in puffer fishes), which is a potential anesthetic and neuropathic pain drug, a proposed formulation to treat heroin addiction and a known cancer cell suppressor.
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