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BFAR mandates permits for tahong dealers

By Paulo DS Papa

DEALERS transporting shellfish from Sorsogon Bay, Juag Lagoon, and Mandaon in Masbate must obtain Local Transport Permits from the local government to certify the safety of these seafood products, Rowena Briones, the spokesperson of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in Bicol, said.

While South-eastern Visayas and northern parts of Mindanao have been affected by toxic red tide since October last year, the Bicol region remained free from this contamination until the end of 2023.

On January 25, BFAR issued an advisory warning local markets about red tide infestation in the waters of Milagros, Masbate, as part of the bureau’s red tide monitoring areas.

In an interview, Briones assured the safety of Juag Lagoon in Matnog, Sorsogon; Sorsogon Bay; and the waters of Mandaon in Masbate.

She cautioned the public against consuming shellfish like mussels (tahong) from Mandaon, Masbate, as they pose risks. Dealers transporting shellfish from safe waters in Bicol must obtain the necessary documentation from the local government, affirming the safety of the products for human consumption.

Both the local government and the dealers are required to declare that the shellfish they distribute in Bicol are sourced from waters free of toxic red tide. Briones highlighted the severe consequences of consuming shellfish from red tide-affected areas, including paralysis and other life-threatening complications.

She explained that red tide infection is a natural phenomenon caused by algae, which can persist in a certain area for months.

Meanwhile, Briones confirmed that the markets in Camarines Sur, including Naga City, are free from red tide-infected shellfish.


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