Jacqueline Ingles of WFTS Tampa Bay reports, take a ride on Captain Nick Warhurst’s boat and there is just one rule: do not eat raw shellfish.
“I’d rather you not eat anything raw on my boat,” said Warhurst. “If you want to eat them raw you wait till you get to the dock and you’re on your own.”
Married to a nurse, Warhurst says he knows the dangers of eating raw or undercooked shellfish.
“Some people die from this stuff,” he explained.
According to the Florida Department of Health, two Bay area residents did get infected with Vibrio Vulnificus and died this year. One resident was from Citrus County, the other resided in Sarasota County.
Vibrio is a bacteria that occurs naturally in Gulf Coast waters.
You can also get infected if you go into water with an open cut or sore.
So far this year, 23 people have been infected by the bacteria across the states. A total of five people have died from the infections.
However, contracting it is rare.
“It is really, really, really rare, but why take the chance,” asked Terry Natwick, the director of sales and marketing at the Plantation Inn in Crystal River.
The inn, which is a hotspot for tourists who’ve come to scallop stay, offers a catch and cook program.
“Not only do we have somebody who will professionally shuck the scallops for you and keep it on ice and then put it in a Ziplock and then you bring it right to our kitchen where we refrigerate it at the proper temperature and cook if for you either that day at lunch or that night for dinner,” Natwick said.
First time scalloper Nick Tulse is taking the Inn up on it’s offer.
“Oh no no, you cook ’em,” said Tulse, who drove up from Bradenton.