QUEZON CITY, Philippines — A red tide warning has been raised over the provinces of Bataan and Pampanga after the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) located red tide toxins in shellfish products last Wednesday, November 21.
According to reports, accumulation of marine toxin, saxitoxin, in mollusks found in said areas has reached up to 500 micrograms per 100 grams of meat.
“Ang required lamang po na limit sa Philippine regulatory limits ay 60, kaya medyo mataas, at inaasahan pa po namin baka tataas pa ito. Kaya minabuti na po ng BFAR na i-maintain at ilabas na ang warning sa lalawigan ng Bataan at Pampanga,” said BFAR OIC division chief, Neil Kenneth Catibog.
The Bureau noted that based on their observations, there is a resurgence of red tide in Bataan and Pampanga every November.
“Nakita namin parang nagigig pattern na nga bakit November. Siguro ho sa panahon. Ito yung panahon na nagiging fertile ang katubigan dahil sa tumataas ang nutrient content. Marami hong factors yung alat ng tubig, init ng panahon yung pag-ulan, yung pag-init,” Catibog explained.
At present, harvest and sale of shellfish such as mussels (tahong), clams (halaan), oysters (talaba) and krill (alamang) are strictly prohibited.
Fish may be consumed as long it is cleaned thoroughly and its entrails and gills are removed
Symptoms of red tide poisoning include nausea, numbness or paralysis which could lead to death.
So far, there have been no incidents of red tide poisoning reported.
Meanwhile, the BFAR will provide assistance to affected fishermen.
“Magbibigay ng ibang kagamitan ng pangisda para hindi lang sila mahinto sa kanilang hanapbuhay dahil ang BFAR po talaga naiintidihan namin ang katayuan ng ating mga nagtatahong at nagtatalaba,” Catibog said.
The BFAR said they will only remove the warning over Bataan and Pampanga if shellfish samples collected from affected areas turn out negative of red tide toxins three times in a row. — Leslie Longboen | UNTV News & Rescue