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BFAR declares Masbate waters red tide-free

By Connie Calipay

LEGAZPI CITY --- The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in Bicol reported on Monday that all types of shellfish from the coastal waters of Milagros town in Masbate province are now safe for eating after collected water samples turned out negative for paralytic shellfish toxin (PSP) that causes red tide.

In an interview on Monday, Rowena Briones, BFAR- Bicol information officer, said aside from Milagros, the three other red tide monitoring areas in the region are now negative for toxins based on the latest shellfish bulletin issued last Friday.

"Almost four months since February, Milagros, Masbate has been positive for the toxins. Now that it was declared negative, gathering, selling, and transporting all types of shellfish from the coastal waters of Milagros in Masbate are now permitted," she said.

She said the other red tide monitoring areas are the Sorsogon Bay and Juag Lagoon in Matnog, Sorsogon province and the coastal waters of Mandaon, also in Masbate.

"Ngunyan po na gabos na red tide monitoring areas in Bicol are negative (Now that all red tide monitoring areas in Bicol are negative) our fisherfolk can work without disruptions. This is an advantage for fisheries production, ensuring operational continuity, safer seafood, and broader economic benefits for the entire fishing sector)," she said.

Based on the shellfish advisory of the BFAR central office, the negative results for PSP were obtained from three consecutive weeks of sampling in the areas.

Briones said BFAR-Bicol regularly tests water samples in various monitoring bays to ensure public health and safety and to protect the fishery industry.

"We advise the public to be cautious when purchasing seafood, such as fish, shrimp, crabs, and shellfish. It is recommended to purchase, cook, and eat fresh seafood that has been thoroughly washed," she said.

Red tide is a phenomenon where water turns discolored due to high algal concentration.

PSP symptoms may include tingling of the lips and tongue, which could spread to the face, neck, fingertips, and toes. Headache, dizziness, and nausea may follow.

In severe cases, patients may experience muscular paralysis and respiratory difficulty. Deaths have also been reported. (PNA)


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