Red tide prompts ban on shellfish in Bohol
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has issued a red tide alert in Dauis, Bohol, banning the gathering and eating of shellfish in the affected area.
The public are also advised to remove the gills of the fish and avoid eating raw fish.
Dr. Allan Poquita, BFAR-7 Assistant Regional Director said the ban would last for one month.
At least 14 were hospitalized after eating shellfish taken from the coastal waters off barangay Totolan and Songulan in Dauis town and barangays Poblacion and Bool in Tagbilaran City. Seven of them were already discharged.
The BFAR asked the public to refrain from eating, gathering, harvesting, transporting and marketing shellfish from the coastal waters in Dauis until the shellfish toxicity level has gone down below the regulatory limit.
READ: Shellfish poisoning downs 11 in Bohol
Lab tests on the shellfish content confirmed a harmful level of the microorganism that causes shellfish poisoning. The test results in Cebu were confirmed in Manila lab tests.
“Based on the results of red tide monitoring activities of the BFAR Central Office in coordination with the local government unit shellfish samples are positive for paralytic shellfish poison (PSP). The public is also informed that the fish harvested from the said araes are safe for human consumption provided that they are fresh and washed thoroughly and internal organs such as gills and intestines are properly removed and cleaned before cooking,” the advisory said.
Most of the victims are coastal dwellers who are ‘gleaners’ or those who gather shellfish in the foreshore and eat it for personal consumption. Poquita said they ate ‘tahong’ and “litob”.
Poquita explained that the microorganisms exist in all seas but ‘harmful algal bloom” occurs in favorable conditions such as a period following a drought and strong rainfall when substances are washed into the ocean causing an increase in nutrients that trigger the red tide phenomenon.
The affected barangays in Dauis are not a major fishing ground but its location in Panglao island would still raise concerns for tourism in Bohol and Cebu.
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