If you have ever looked at a Barracuda up close you probably noticed its giant teeth and huge eyes. These are the parts of this fish that make it obvious the it is a predator. However, there is something else that make many people steer away from these fish... poison.
Great Barracuda have come to be feared more on the table than in the water. This is because of a toxin known as ciguatoxin that causes ciguatera. Ciguatera is rarely fatal but can cause a great deal of discomfort.
The toxin is caused by algae and the Barracuda ingest the toxin by eating fish that feed on algae such as anchovies and herring. Barracudas aren't the only fish that eat these bait fish though. Tuna, Mackerel, and Grouper also feed on these fish, but aren't nearly as feared.
I personally will eat a Barracuda in a heartbeat. On a list of body parts that store the toxin, the Barracuda's flesh is last, following its liver and other internal parts. Smaller Barracudas are safer too, because they haven't ingested nearly as many bait fish which reduces their chance of exposure.
I for one will continue to fish for, and eat Barracuda in Coastal Georgia. They have the same diet as most of the other fish that I eat here. However, when I travel, I will be more cautious because I don't know what the diet of the local 'Cudas might be.
It my experience, the Barracudas have a taste that is quite similar to Grouper. I love a good piece of blackened Barracuda.
It's your choice to eat or stay away from them. I don't want you to make any decisions based on what I tell you. But if you come to a cookout where I'm doing the cooking, you just might find these awesome predators on the menu.
Capt. TJ Cheek - Professional Fishing Guide - St. Simons Island - Costa Del Mar Pro Guide