Eat A Dead Fish

If you’ve encountered a dead fish while swimming or boating, you might be wondering what would happen if you ate a dead fish? There’s a reason people often tell you not to touch dead fish – they’re dangerous to eat! But can you get sick from eating a dead fish? It is not safe to eat dead fish. This is very dangerous, especially in survival-type situations. Dead fish contain bacteria, parasites, and diseases that can make you very uncomfortable and even kill you. The only possibility is fish just killed by predators, but there is still a significant risk.

Can you eat dead fish? What happens if you do this? Let’s take a closer look.

Can You Eat A Fish That Just Died?

It is not wise to eat freshly dead fish. When you pull a dead fish out of the water, it is no longer fit for consumption.

If a fish dies of natural causes, it releases toxins into the body that can make you sick if you eat it. If you’re not sure how long the fish has been dead, it’s best to be cautious and throw it away.

The only way to make sure the fish is fit to eat is to drag it out of the water.

If you must eat freshly dead fish, cook it immediately to reduce the risk of food poisoning. Cook the fish until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit to kill any harmful bacteria.

What Happens After A Fish Dies?

Most fish are slightly denser than water, so they sink immediately after death. However, like drowning people, they become more buoyant over time as the bacteria break down to create gas in the body. Often enough gas builds up in the body cavity to float the body, like an inflated balloon.

What Happens When You Eat A Dead Fish?

what happens if you eat a dead fish

This fish may have died for a number of reasons. The most likely cause is poisoning. Eating dead fish can cause serious health problems such as vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea. In some cases, it can even lead to death.

If you eat dead fish contaminated with toxins, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Vomit
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Dizziness

How Long Has The Fish Been Dead?

Fish is a type of meat that spoils quickly when raw meat is exposed to heat and harsh environments. Fish that have already started to rot can lead to severe food poisoning, which can make you really sick and weaken your body further.

There are some indications that the fish has been dead for some time and should not be considered survival food.

Rotten smell. Fish exposed to the elements of sand that are beginning to decay will have a very pungent, distinctly putrid smell. If it doesn’t smell good enough, chances are it isn’t and you should try to find something else to eat.

Flies and maggots. Flies reproduce by laying eggs in the meat, which then hatch small maggot-like bugs. If the fly has been sitting on the fish and the eggs have hatched, the dead fish has been out for too long and is not good for you.

Damaged corpse. Was the corpse intact, or was it opened by a predator? If the carcass has no wounds, then the fish may have died from other causes, which would make it unfit for you to eat.

The firmness of the meat. If you can easily open the carcass and the meat is not hard, but soft and mushy, then the carcass has begun to degrade and should not be eaten.

How Long Can You Eat A Fish After It Dies? 

Once the fish is dead, it is best to wash it within two hours and eat it within 24 hours. You need a way to catch fish until you’re ready to wash them. Some anglers use stringers to keep fish in the water.

You can eat the fish after it dies, but you need to be careful. If the fish has been dead for more than a few hours, it may be contaminated with toxins that can make you sick.

To be safe, only eat fish that have been dead for less than 24 hours. If you’re not sure how long the fish has been dead, it’s best to throw it away.

Should You Cook A Dead Fish?

If you find a dead fish that is fit to eat, it is best to take the extra precaution of cooking the meat if possible before eating it.

This will give you extra heat protection and kill any bacteria or parasites that may be present in the fish. In fact, high heat kills these microbes and sterilizes the meat, making it safer to eat.

Rotten fish, or fish that have begun to rot, should not be eaten at all. Decomposed proteins produce toxins that the heat of cooking does not break down.


Eating dead fish is very dangerous. Finding a dead fish is best seen as an indicator that you have fish in the water, and you can make better use of your time by forming a way to try and catch fresh, healthy, live fish without causing the same health risks.