Careful with shellfish from Leyte, Samar areas

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Careful with shellfish from Leyte, Samar areas

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Bohol consumers should be careful in buying shellfish now, while authorities still have to make sure no shellfish from red-tide affected areas of Easter Visayas could be sneaked to the public markets here.

Alma Saavedra, the spokesperson of the regional office of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR)-7, advised the public to avoid eating shellfish at the height of the red tide alert in the neighboring areas in Eastern Visayas.

She explained that even if Bohol and other areas of the Central Visayas region are now negative of red tide, there is no assurance that products contaminated by red tide from red-tide affected areas in Eastern Visayas would be prevented from reaching the markets here.

According to BFAR-7, red tide alert has been hoisted in Eastern Visayas since March yet until the present.

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The spokesperson of BFAR-7 further explained that they could not assure 100-percent to be able to monitor that no red-tide affected shellfish from Samar, Leyte and other parts of Eastern Visayas would reach Bohol.

BFAR-7 issued the warning after confiscating shellfish from Samar sold in Pasil public market in Cebu City which showed positive of red tide.

Areas affected by red tide include Daram Island, Irong-Irong, Cambatutay, Villareal, and Maqueda Bays in Western Samar; Matarinao Bay in Eastern Samar; Carigara Bay and the coastal waters of Leyte and Cancabato Bay of Tacloban City, according to BFAR-7.

BFAR-7 monitored that “shellfish gathered from Cancabato Bay in Tacloban City and Daram Island in Western Samar were found positive for the algae that produces the red tide toxin,” according to regional media reports.

Public market administrators in entire Bohol are alerted on possible entry of shellfish from these areas, considering the proximity of the province to these areas.

Saavedra clarified that fish vendors are not prohibited from selling their products, but they just have to be honest where they got their stock of marine products to prevent red tide contamination.

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BFAR-7, however, said it is only safe to eat other marine products such as “fish, squid, shrimp and crab when they are fresh and washed thoroughly and when internal organs are removed before cooking”.

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BFAR-Bohol personnel, for their part, continue to monitor areas previously affected by red tide organisms, particularly Dauis and Tagbilaran seawaters.

It was only in March this year that the longest red tide alert in the province had been lifted by BFAR.

The previous red tide alert in Dauis ran from middle of last year to March this year.

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However, BFAR-Bohol continued to warn local governments of Dauis and Tagbilaran to remain vigilant since then and continue monitoring the coastal areas to make sure any resurgence of red tide toxins would be promptly acted upon.

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