TOXIC ALGAE: Treasure Coast restaurants modify menus to ease concerns over local seafood safety

Restaurants seeing more orders for chicken, beef

STUART, Fla. -- - Several restaurants along the Treasure Coast are modifying menus after managers see an increase in toxic algae concerns relating to the quality of seafood.

Patrons are questioning if the fish on the menu near waterfront eateries near the St. Lucie Estuary is safe to eat.
    
"You hope that they're not catching it right over here," said Geraldine Addeo of Palm City.

Addeo and other patrons said she is as concerned about getting in the water as she is about eating from the contaminated waters.

"They're asking where the seafood is from. Our meat sales have gone up. Our chicken sales have gone up," said Chef David Vanstolk at Sailor's Return in Stuart.

Chef Vanstolk said he is so worried about the negative perception of his fish that he is taken items like whole snapper off the menu.
    
"They think that the seafood is no good and we are a seafood state. So it could scare the tourists away which is not good for us," said Chef Vanstolk.

Treasure Coast restaurant owners said even though many eateries are just feet away from the contaminated waters, most seafood in the area comes from all over the county.

"We don't have those indigenous fish that live in the river because of the season that it is," said Bob Thesz of the New England Fish Market in Jensen Beach.

Thesz said the fishing industry in Florida is heavily regulated. He also said he labels the origin of all of his fish at the market.

Consumers like Addeo will now be closely reading those words.

"Just as you ask where do the oysters come from, I would ask where is your fish coming from," said Addeo.

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