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Red tide warning still up over Masbate

By Connie Calipay

LEGAZPI CITY --- Coastal areas in Masbate province remain positive for red tide toxin, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources-Bicol (BFAR-5) said Monday.

Citing the latest laboratory results of the collected shellfish samples, Nonie Enolva, BFAR-5 spokesperson, said the presence of toxic red tide in shellfish meat is still beyond the regulatory limit.

"Based on the laboratory examination conducted by the BFAR-National Fisheries Laboratory last Feb. 10, 2023, shellfish meat samples collected from the coastal water of Milagros town in Masbate among others are still positive with paralytic shellfish poison (PSP)," she said in an interview.

Enolva said that from Oct. 7, 2022 to date, Milagros waters are being monitored to guard public health and protect the shellfish industry.

BFAR also warned the public to refrain from gathering, transporting, selling, buying, and eating all types of shellfish and alamang (small shrimp) from the affected coastal water to avoid PSP.

"Fish, squid, regular shrimps, and crabs are safe for human consumption, provided they are fresh and washed thoroughly. Internal organs such as gills and intestines must also be removed before cooking," Enolva said.

According to experts, shellfish are prone to red tide because when they eat the poison-producing algae, the toxin can accumulate in their tissues. Biotoxins do not harm shellfish, so the level in their tissue will rise until the algae bloom subsides.

Studies showed that the shellfish would eventually flush the toxin out, but it can take several days to several months or longer.

The usual symptoms of PSP are tingling, numbness of the mouth and extremities, and gastrointestinal discomforts such as vomiting and diarrhea.

In severe cases, difficulty in swallowing and speech paralysis with respiratory arrest, and even death, can occur. (PNA)


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