The general methodology employed in the development of an immunological assay system is initially described. These include: (a) the methods and reagents used for coupling low dalton epitopes; (b) selection of appropriate immunogenic carriers; (c) mode of administration and choice of animal; and (d) the method of assessing the antibody produced. The background and methodology, using ciguatoxin as a model, are presented. The stick enzyme immunoassay (S-EIA) has proven of value to evaluate implicated fish for verification of ciguatera poisoning and for screening of fish associated with ciguatera prior to consumption. No false negatives have occurred with the stick enzyme immunoassay system to date.