BFAR issues shellfish ban in Puerto Princesa due to red tide

By , on January 31, 2017

BFAR issues shellfish ban in Puerto Princesa due to red tide (Photo By Matikas 0805 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0)
BFAR issues shellfish ban in Puerto Princesa due to red tide (Photo by Matikas 0805 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0)
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY—The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and the city government here issued Tuesday morning a warning to the public against the consumption of shellfishes following findings of red tide toxins from samples collected from the Puerto Princesa Bay.

BFAR Undersecretary for Fisheries Eduardo Gongona in a statement released to the local press through the City Information Office (CIO) said, “based on results of red tide monitoring activities of BFAR, City Agriculture Office (CAO), and Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA), shellfish samples collected from Puerto Princesa Bay is positive for red tide toxin.”

His statement claimed “Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) toxin level in shellfish samples taken from the area is 146 ugSTXeq/100g of meat.”

“To avoid PSP, the public is advised to refrain from eating, gathering or harvesting, transporting and marketing shellfish from the Puerto Princesa Bay until such time the toxicity level has gone down below regulatory limit,” Ligad said.

Fish, crabs, shrimps, and squids, however, are safe for human consumption because they are fresh and can be washed thoroughly by removing their internal organs.

Gongona said Puerto Princesa Bay is among 12 areas in the whole country affected by the red tide.

The other areas affected are the coastal waters of Daram Island, Irong-Irong, Cambatutay; Maqueda and Villareal bays in Western Samar; Matarinao Bay in Eastern Samar; coastal waters of Leyte and Carigara Bay; coastal waters of Biliran; coastal waters of Gigantes Island, Carles, Iloilo; coastal waters of Dauis and Tagbilaran City, Bohol; and Balite Bay, Davao Oriental.

All types of shellfish, as well as Acetes sp. or “alamang” are deemed not safe for human consumption, according to Gongonga.

Red tide is a common name for a phenomenon known as algal bloom (large concentrations of aquatic microorganisms) when it is caused by a few species of dinoflagellates and the bloom takes on a red or brown color.

Red tide is an event in which estuarine, marine, or fresh water algae accumulate rapidly in the water column, resulting in coloration of the surface water. It is usually found in coastal areas.

These algae, a form of phytoplankton, are single-celled protists, plant-like organisms that can form dense, visible patches near the water’s surface.

The occurrence of red tides in some locations appears to be entirely natural (algal blooms are a seasonal occurrence resulting from coastal upwelling, a natural result of the movement of certain ocean currents), while in others, they appear to be a result of increased nutrient loading from human activities.