Red tide alert stays; shell gatherers restive

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Red tide alert stays; shell gatherers restive

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Despite reports that shell fish gatherers and vendors are becoming restive, red tide alert stays,    a report quoted Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) as saying.

The warning usually would last up to six months but in some instances it is extended up to two years depending on the results of the sampling until red tide is eliminated, BFAR said.

It has been almost six months since the ban on shell gathering was imposed after some red tide victims landed in hospitals here.

Earlier, more than 20 patients who have reportedly eaten mussles landed at the hospital this city prompting BFAR to r report the red tide alert, ascausing widespread effect on even neighboring towns like Panglao.

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Unconfirmed report said that shell fish products were on display and sold at the make-shift market set up at Plaza Rizal selling agricultural and fishery produce.

BFAR’s Leo Bongalos pointed out that the areas most affected by red tide include the shorelines and seawaters along Tagbilaran-Dauis strait: from Mansasa, Poblacion I, Poblacion II (K of C) to Taloto, Cainggit; and Dauis town proper, barangays Totolan, Sungculan, Riverside and Tabalong, Dauis town.

Bongalos said the so-called Harmful Algal Blooms toxin update in Bohol. Sampling sites shells with high concentration of the shellfish poison include three sites off K of C with brown mussels or “Amahong”; and another three sites off Cainget beach with “Kuja” or oysters.

Bongalos reiterated the call for the consumers to refrain from eating all kinds of shellfish for now while the advisory is still up. He said that eating fish is still safe but it should be cleaned thoroughly by removing the gills, intestines of the fish before eating. Toxins of the red tide cannot be killed by heat in cooking, he said.

Shell fish bulleting No. 20, seris of 2015 dated August 7, 2015 issued by BFAR bared that shellfish collected in Dauis, Bohol “are still positive for paralytic shellfish poison that is beyond the regulation limit” based on on the latest laboratory results conducted by BFAR.

Included in the said bulletin, shellfish collected in Balite Bay in Mati, Davao Oriental; coastal waters Irong-irong Bay and Cambatutay Bay in Western Samar and Milagros in Masbate are also positive of the red tide.

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The bulletin signed by BFAR director Atty. Asis Perez warns the public: Do not harvest, do not sell, do not buy and do not eat.

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BFAR said that the samples taken from affeted areas remain positive for “paralytic shellfish poison” (PSP) based on laboratory results. It warned that “all types of shellfish and acetes or alamang harvested from these waters are still not safe for human consumption due to saxitoxin, a powerful neurotoxin produced by certain dinoflagellates found in red tides and that sometimes occurs in and renders toxic normally edible mollusks which feed on them,” regional director Alan Poquita said in the report.

 Former environment secretary Dr. Angel C. Alcala has said that the red tide within the city’s bay area stays as long as the flow of marine water remained impeded and illegal reclamation continue.

The non-lifting of the red tide warning particularly in Dauis town shorelines and this city bay areas has irked fishers who are prohibited to gather and sell shell fish.

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Alcala, who is a marine biologist, retorted on the claim of BFAR that red tide will just vanish after a month or more.

“Dili na sila (red tide) mawala” (red tide won’t be gone), he said based on his extensive study as marine biologist.

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He explained that red tide a kind of toxic substance produced by algae remains because the marine water in said area (Tagbilaran Bay) is blocked by reclamations, such as the roads connecting this city and Dauis town. The algae becomes inactive but they bloom when the right time comes such as change in temperature.  (rvo)

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