Philippines issues red tide warning: Avoid eating shellfish

RAZEL V. CUIZON Sun Star 30 Aug 16;

THE Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has advised the public to refrain from eating shellfish due to the red tide phenomenon in nearby provinces.

Although there is no red tide alert in the region, Alma Saavedra, information officer of BFAR-Central Visayas, said they’ve learned that some of the shellfish being sold in several markets in Cebu came from areas in Samar.

Some places in Samar are part of the areas tagged as red tide positive.

“There are instances that we were able to get samples of shellfish from different markets which tested positive for red tide contamination, especially tahong or mussels. This is the reason why we asked the public to be cautious and if possible, avoid eating shells,” Saavedra said.

Shellfish that tested positive were confiscated, Saavedra said.

Unregulated

Despite warnings, Saavedra said there are still shellfish from these red tide areas that are being sold in Cebu because of unregulated entry points.

“Duna man guy mga entry points nga di nato mabantayan. Naay mga mangabot nga wa tay hold, manud lang unya usahay ginagmay ra, di dayon mamatikdan (We cannot monitor all entry points),” she said.

Common

Red tide is an algal bloom that makes seafood toxic, which is a common and a naturally recurring phenomenon in coastal waters of Leyte and Samar provinces.

As of last Friday, the red tide phenomenon continued to affect nearby provinces in Central Visayas and has expanded from Samar seas to Leyte bays while contamination continues in seven other bays in Eastern Visayas region.

Saavedra assured, though, that sea products from Central Visayas are tested safe from red tide contamination.

The public is advised to be extra watchful because contaminated shellfish can’t be recognized by its appearance alone and should be tested in their laboratory for confirmation, Saavedra said.

Since red tide alert was released in Samar and Leyte, Saavedra said BFAR-Central Visayas has continued monitoring public markets in Cebu to make sure all sea products are safe for human consumption.

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