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BFAR-7 imposes shellfish ban in 2 NegOr bays

CEBU CITY – The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Central Visayas (BFAR-7) on Thursday imposed a ban on any type of shellfish in the bays of Tambobo and Bais in the town of Siaton and Bais City in Negros Oriental, after discovering the presence of red tide toxin in these areas.

Dr. Allan Poquita, BFAR-7 regional director, in an advisory, told residents of the nearby communities to refrain from harvesting, buying, selling, or eating any type of shellfish coming from the two bodies of water.

“Fish, shrimps, squid, and crabs are safe for human consumption provided they are fresh and washed thoroughly, and internal organs such as gills and intestines are removed before cooking,” he said.

The BFAR advisory also said that coastal waters of Dauis town and Tagbilaran City in Bohol – along with the coasts of Tacloban City, Mati City in Davao Oriental and Lianga Bay in Surigao del Sur – are still positive for paralytic shellfish poison that is beyond the regulatory limit.

Poquita said this was confirmed by BFAR’s recent laboratory results from Manila. The initial PSP testing was conducted in Negros Oriental, he added.

Dr. Florencia Mepaña, Negros Oriental provincial fishery officer, said his office is closely coordinating with the provincial government in regularly monitoring the major bays, rivers, and other shellfish sites in the province.

She said the concerned local government units are already guarding the area to ensure the safety of the consumers.

The two Negros Oriental bays are added to the list of red tide-affected areas in the country that include the coastal waters of neighboring Dauis town and Tagbilaran City in Bohol province.

To note, red tide is the common term used to describe a coastal phenomenon wherein water is discolored by high algal biomass or concentration of algae.

Red tide blooms are commonly caused by environmental conditions such as the intensity of sunlight; and the change in water temperature, salinity, and nutrient levels.

Shellfishes are actually unaffected by red tide. However, they accumulate the toxin in their bodies and these contaminated shellfish pose danger to persons who will eat them.

The BFAR advisory said induced vomiting is common first aid but the person who has consumed contaminated shellfish must be brought to the hospital for immediate treatment. John Rey Saavedra /PNA –

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