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Masbate town waters now red tide-free

By Connie Calipay

LEGAZPI CITY --- After five months of shellfish ban, the waters of Milagros town in Masbate province have been cleared of Paralytic Shellfish Poison (PSP) or red tide toxin, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Bicol (BFAR-5) said on Monday.

"Shellfish advisory dated March 17, 2023, cited that negative results for PSP were obtained from three consecutive weeks of sampling in the area. Shellfish harvested in the coastal waters of Milagros, Masbate is now safe for human consumption. Gathering, harvesting, and marketing of shellfish in the said area are now permitted," BFAR-5 regional director Ariel Pioquinto said in a statement.

Pioquinto said all four monitoring areas in the Bicol Region -- Sorsogon Bay, Juag Lagoon in Matnog, Sorsogon, the coastal waters of Mandaon, Masbate and Milagros, Masbate are presently red tide-free.

"The agency, through its Harmful Algal Blooms Laboratory, will continuously monitor the coastal waters in Milagros and all the red tide monitoring areas to safeguard public health and protect the fishery industry," he added.

Meanwhile, BFAR-Bicol also reported the PHP6.3 million worth of fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP) boats with 16 high-powered marine engines and accessories distributed during the visit of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Pioquinto said “the provision of boats aims to uplift the economic status of Bicolano fisherfolk by giving them disaster-resilient fishing boats in line with the agency's mandate to improve fisheries productivity and empower stakeholders towards food security."

"President Marcos awarded 30-footer and 22-footer RFP boats to 80 fisherfolk beneficiaries from Camarines Sur. The livelihood intervention is part of the bureau’s mandate to support municipal fisherfolk through appropriate technology such as the provision of other fishing boats using reinforced fiberglass materials as an alternative to wood through the Pagbabago Livelihood Development Program," he said.

Yolanda Basmayor, one of the recipients of the 22-footer FRP boats, thanked BFAR for the intervention and support.

“Malaki ang pasasalamat ko sa biyayang ibinigay na ito ng BFAR-Bicol sa amin. Ang bangkang ito ay napakalaking tulong sa pamumuhay naming mga maliliit na mangingisda (I am very grateful for this blessing that BFAR-Bicol has given us. This boat is a great help in the life of us small fishermen)," Basmayor said. (PNA)


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